George Floyd:
One Year Later

A message from Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director, Advancement Project National Office.

It’s been a year since George Floyd was murdered on a street in Minneapolis at the hands of the police.

The video and his cries for his mother will forever be seared into my memory. George Floyd unfortunately was not the first, nor was he the last, person to die as the result of police violence. To many Americans, the cold stare of his murderer during the act, the pleas of the witnesses and the complicity of other officers was a breaking point. It was clear that things could never be the same.

In the year since, Black-led protests of multi-racial multitudes across the globe and the work of racial justice organizations has led to progress. Calls to defund the police became a rallying cry. While many critiqued the demand, its effectiveness has been clear.

This has been a difficult year. We have grieved for so many others including Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Elijah McClain, Daunte Wright, Ma’Khia Bryant, and Andrew Brown. Our brothers and sisters demanding justice in the streets have been teargassed, beaten and arrested and charged with serious offenses. This has all happened against a backdrop of a pandemic that took more than 500,000 lives, disproportionately Black and Brown, and an attempted insurrection. It’s been a trauma-filled year. Yet, in the midst of it all, we refuse to back down in our fight for a more just country.

This page serves as a memorial to the ones we have lost—our hard-won victories over the last year and the fight ahead.

The Timeline

May 26, 2020

The Murder of George Floyd

George Floyd was murdered by the Minneapolis Police. Officer Derek Chauvin was seen in the spiraling video with his knee on Floyd’s neck as he cried “I CAN’T BREATHE!” We’ve known for years that Black and Brown people have been the target of racial discrimination and police brutality, but this momentous event sparked international outrage and a national awakening towards police tactics and a national awakening surrounding police tactics and the racist attacks and treatment of communities of color.

May 26, 2020

May 31, 2020

The World Responds

Protests erupted in every state in the U.S. and forty different countries including Australia, China, Canada, France, Mexico, and South Africa. The protests shed light on police brutality and shifted public opinion on the role of police in communities of color. The protests undoubtedly played a role in all four officers being charged in George Floyd’s Murder.

May 31, 2020

June 9, 2020

A Call for Change

Thousands gathered for Floyd’s final funeral service in Houston, TX. Rev. Al Sharpton, U.S. Rep. Al Green, actor Jamie Foxx and Houston Texans player J.J. Watt attended the service, as well as then-presidential candidate Joe Biden, who spoke via video, calling for change for Black Americans.

June 9, 2020

June 2020

A Movement Reborn

According to Pex, Twitter shows that between May 25 and June 5, Black Lives Matter and race related videos were watched over 1.4 billion times. The video of George Floyd’s Death accumulated 2.5 million views within 12 hours after it was posted. At least 23.2 million people watched the Chauvin Trial in 2021.

June 2020

2021 & Onward

The Fight Continues

Racial justice organizations like Advancement Project National Office have been fighting to create a just environment for all Americans. These organizations have fought not only against police brutality but to create police-free schools, and challenge racially discriminatory laws that suppress and disenfranchise Black and Brown Americans. George Floyd’s murder has shown Americans the true world we live in and the injustice that resides in it. Change has happened and will continue to happen as the fight for justice prevails.

 

2021 & Onward

Responding to the moment

Starting in March 2020 as coronavirus infections steadily increased, Advancement Project National Office and local partners sprang into action, urging state officials to release incarcerated people from jails and ICE detention centers. Due to the criminalization of race and poverty through policies like cash bail, we knew that people were stuck in jail.

We also know that people who are incarcerated lack access to adequate health care and the ability to socially distance, putting them at greater risk of falling victim to COVID-19. Our collective efforts to decarcerate went beyond the public health issue that was on the horizon, we knew that getting people free was a human rights necessity. In the summer of 2020, we joined the calls for a reckoning on racial justice in the aftermath of a wave of police murders of Black men and women.

First, more than 35 school districts have ended their contracts with police departments. While we have been building the Police Free Schools movement for the past several years, the moment provided clarity to many that the police we cannot trust in our neighborhoods should not be in our school hallways. Second, in many cities organizers have been able to win changes in public safety to address a lack of investment in Black and Brown people and our communities, instead of in systems that criminalize them. Third, the call to defund the police has shifted the discourse from ineffective reforms to transformative change. It has allowed Americans to imagine a world without police and to focus on the needs of our communities.

We were standing with our partners across the country, doing whatever we could to amplify and support the organizers on the ground, and calling for action to divest from policing. We organized a coalition of celebrities, grassroots organizers and national racial justice groups for a virtual town hall to demand accountability and celebrate the life of Breonna Taylor. The #SayHerName: National Town Hall for Breonna Taylor, co-hosted by the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), Black Lives Matter – Louisville, Black Womxn and The Root, calling for action and divestment from police.

Resources

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What Does It Mean to be Free?

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Juneteenth

Freedom Dreaming is Freedom Fighting

By Ky’Eisha Penn, Staff Attorney Juneteenth is a day that we come together to celebrate the emancipation of Black people enslaved in and by our …

Policing and Criminalization

Our Fight for Justice Continues

By Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director Last month marked a year since George Floyd was murdered on a street in Minneapolis at the hands of …