George Floyd: A Year in Remembrance


Courtesy of Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

The year following Floyd’s death has been filled with numerous protests advocating for the equality and protection of Black lives.

Vivi Melkonian, Co-Opinion Editor

9 minutes and 26 seconds is a timestamp that now lives in infamy throughout America. 9 minutes and 26 seconds that would go on to spark unprecedented protests. 9 minutes and 26 seconds that changed America and millions of lives forever.

Today marks one year since George Floyd was killed in a grotesque act of police brutality. Footage capturing Floyd’s final moments on earth, lasting nearly ten minutes, rapidly circulated across the world following his death. This resulted in widespread national unrest and an overarching realization: we are obligated to fight for justice and change.

In the weeks and months following Floyd’s death, the world began to stir with angry and justified protests calling for police reform. The call for change and reform within the legal and justice system was amplified by protesters and legislators around the country. Floyd’s death sparked a movement that highlighted the full extent of the brokenness within our justice system and the necessity of fighting for black lives.  

The longstanding inequality for Black people in America has stood since the days of the founding fathers, and while there has been progress, Floyd’s death exemplifies the present corrosive impact that racism has on our country today. It cannot be ignored or disregarded. Racism permeates into the entirety of our society, despite the ongoing fight for civil rights. This includes ensuring that we hold those responsible for perpetuating racist ideals throughout the country accountable for their actions.

March 2021 marked the beginning of Derek Chauvin’s trial and would determine the extent to which he would be punished for killing Floyd. He was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Over the course of three weeks America held their breath as we awaited the verdict. Chauvin was found guilty on all counts with which he was charged.

It is important to note that this is not justice for George Floyd –– this is accountability for Derek Chauvin’s horrific actions. Justice would be if George Floyd were alive today.

A year later, George Floyd’s family wishes to “build on the legacy that we want to honor him with,” Floyd’s cousin, Tera Brown, told CNN. This means relentlessly fighting for effective legislation that focuses on widespread police reform and ending police brutality, so as to help other families avoid the type of grief and suffering they have endured over the past year.

Floyd’s brother was quoted today saying, “If you can make federal laws to protect the bird, which is the bald eagle, you can make federal laws to protect people of color.”

Currently, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act remains at a standstill in the Senate. This act passed in the House and vows to increase accountability of law enforcement, transparency in data, and redefining acceptable restraint practices.  

While George Floyd’s death did foster a loud and important call for justice, sparking innumerable protests nationwide, it is important to acknowledge the progress that still needs to be made. George Floyd was a father, brother, son –– human –– who deserved to live out a long life and was robbed of that opportunity. It is our responsibility now to continue this fight until justice and change is tangible. Rest in power.