On the third anniversary of the murder of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Civil rights leaders mourn the loss of the Black man whose death sparked one of the largest movements in American history. But it was also a constant reminder of how much work still needs to be done in regard to police reform.
George Floyd still could have been any of us.
NAACP President & CEO, Derrick Johnson paid tribute to George Floyd while demanding immediate police reform and policy changes throughout the nation.
“Three years ago today, George Floyd was murdered by uniformed police officers,” Johnson wrote in a statement to NewsOne. “Floyd’s death ignited a wave of protests and demonstrations against systemic racism around the world and sparked long overdue discussions on racial justice in the United States. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, Black Americans continue to grapple with countless injustices as a consequence of a broken law enforcement system and the fear that comes from just being Black in America. Now, more than ever, police accountability remains a top priority. Black America won’t wait any longer. The fundamental change we demand is no longer an option but imperative and until we see the passage of comprehensive police reform in this country, we know that innocent lives will continue to be at risk.”
Civil Rights lawyer Ben Crump took to Twitter to remember Floyd’s legacy tweeting, “On this day 3 yrs ago, George Floyd was murdered by a police officer who kneeled on his neck for 9 minutes. Although his family will never have him back, his death sparked a national conversation on police brutality. George Floyd will forever be remembered! Rest In Power.”
A coalition of civil rights groups also announced today a new initiative on the state of corporate investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The National Action Network (NAN), National Urban League (NUL), National Association of Investment Companies (NAIC), and National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP) will produce a report to track what companies have followed through on their promises and what specific actions they are taking since the death of George Floyd.
According to McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Stability, 40% of 1,369 Fortune 1000 companies (including new and recently removed ones) had made public statements about racial justice between May 2020 through October 2022. Companies have pledged a combined $340 billion toward racial equity over that same period, with many of those commitments coming from the financial sector. The coalition’s goal is to track what specific initiatives, such as housing or small businesses, these pledges are going toward since May 2021, as they have become vaguer and harder to track.
Selwyn Jones, Floyd’s uncle is remembering his nephew’s legacy by focusing on promoting civil rights and creating lasting change. With his organization the Hope929 Foundation, Jones has spent the last three years traveling the country speaking with victims of police violence and advocating for social justice.
“This is about preserving life” and that with it “Eric Garner, Tyre Nicholes, and George Floyd, they would’ve all been at Christmas last year,” Jones said during an interview with The Boston Globe.
People For the American Way President, Svante Myrick, emphasized the need for positive policy solutions as detailed in the organization’s All Safe: Transforming Public Safety report.
“Today we mourn the senseless murder of George Floyd and countless others who needlessly lost their lives to police violence, brutality and misconduct,” Myrick said in a statement to NewsOne. “Since George Floyd’s death, we have seen far too many incidents, including the murder of Daniel Prude in Rochester, New York, who suffocated under a spit hood while suffering from a mental health crisis; the execution-style police murder of Patrick Lyoya in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and the Memphis police unit that terrorized and killed Tyre Nichols. Ensuring justice for all is urgent and essential. Every community is at risk until we address authoritarian policing that tolerates the abuse of power among law enforcement and those who resist accountability. Ending authoritarian policing requires transformative approaches that restructure public safety departments, hold officers accountable for their actions, remove unfit officers, and recruit well-trained public safety personnel. We can succeed in changing the public safety policies responsible for the death of George Floyd and so many others in ways that honor our humanity and protect all of us. We must transform public safety.”
Legal Defense Fund called for changes to public safety tweeting, “George Floyd’s heinous killing #OTD in 2020 sparked mass protests and uprisings across the globe that called for fundamental changes to our public safety systems. Three years later, there’s still work to be done.”
Movement 4 Black Lives also reflected on the anniversary by tweeting, “Three years ago today, George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. As we commemorate his death and reflect on how many of our people have been murdered by the state and white supremacy, we are devastated.”
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