Minnesotans observed the third anniversary of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police Thursday as the state officially declared May 25 “George Floyd Remembrance Day.”
While the occasion was emotional, visitors to George Floyd Square at E. 38th Street and Chicago Avenue also said they felt the lasting legacy of how Floyd’s death changed the world for the better.
“Internationally, George Floyd’s death stopped the world,” said Cindy Devonish, chair of the Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights. “There is no one else who literally stopped the world. His death—his murder—just changed, changed us all.
“When you look around George Floyd Square, you see people—white, black Indian—all coming together to celebrate George Floyd and his legacy. So, it’s a beautiful thing when you have people of different diversities and backgrounds coming together for a common cause.”
Governor Tim Walz issued a proclamation earlier in the day declaring May 25 “George Floyd Remembrance Day.”
“True justice for George Floyd will come only through real, systemic, and lasting change in Minnesota,” Walz tweeted. “We have more work to do to ensure that every person in Minnesota is safe, valued, and protected. We owe that much to Mr. Floyd, and we owe that much to each other.”
The proclamation notes that “long-standing racism” has threatened the safety and health of Minnesota’s Black residents and communities of color, that Floyd’s’ murder “ignited a global movement,” and that more work is needed to deconstruct systemic racism.
“George Floyd Remembrance Day is a time to honor him and every person whose life has been cut short due to systems of racism and discrimination in Minnesota,” the proclamation says.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented Floyd’s family in a lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis, urged Americans not to become complacent, and to continue fighting against excessive use of police force.
“Although his family will never have him back, his death sparked a national conversation on police brutality. George Floyd will forever be remembered!” Crump tweeted. “Rest In Power.”
President Joe Biden also marked the occasion with several tweets, noting, “We will never stop taking action in his honor.”
“George Floyd’s murder exposed for many what Black and Brown communities have long known and experienced—that we must make a commitment to ensure that America lives up to its founding promise of fair and impartial justice for all,” Biden tweeted. “Today, three years after his murder, let us build on the progress we have made and recommit to changing hearts and minds as well as laws and policies.”
Floyd, 46, died on May 25, 2020, after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for about nine minutes after responding to a call that he had allegedly used a fake $20 bill at Cup Foods.
Officers J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane held onto Floyd’s back and legs, respectively, as he lay stomach-down in the street. Officer Tou Thao held back a crowd of angry bystanders, including an off-duty Minneapolis firefighter, who yelled at the officers to get off Floyd as he repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe and called out for his mother.
The former officers were fired from the department, and have all been convicted in state and federal court for their roles in Floyd’s murder.