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Mourners Across The U.S. Gather For What Would Have Been George Floyd’s 47th Birthday

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Topline

Several mourners and demonstrators nationwide gathered to remember George Floyd on Wednesday night on what would have been his 47th birthday, paying tribute to him at the site where he was killed by police on Memorial Day, as well as in Portland, Oregon—an ongoing site of anti-racism protests, and in Los Angeles, where a vigil was held.

Minneapolis Residents Mark Birthday Of George Floyd

People place candles during a birthday celebration for George Floyd at a memorial site known as … [+] “George Floyd Square” on October 14, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Getty Images

Key Facts

Floyd’s family members gathered to celebrate his birthday at the site in Minneapolis where he was tragically killed in police custody almost five months ago.

His cousins and aunt were pictured by the Star Tribune giving speeches.

In Portland, Black Lives Matter protests which have been held every night since Floyd’s death, were halted on Wednesday night in favour of a sit-in in Floyd’s memory.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown tweeted late on Wednesday: “Today, which should have been George Floyd’s 47th birthday, is a stark reminder: police accountability can literally mean the difference between life and death.”

A memorial was also held outside L.A. City Hall, with mourners lighting candles and holding signs that read: “George Floyd should be alive.”

In Brooklyn, other members of Floyd’s family, as well as mourners and supporters, held a vigil for him.

Crucial Quote

Speaking at the memorial event in Brooklyn, Floyd’s brother, Terrence Floyd, said on Wednesday: “Unfortunately, I’m not able to call him and tell him happy birthday or give him a hug or just hear him crack a joke, but I know he’s good. I’m here to be a voice for my brother and speak when he can’t speak, to walk where he can’t walk.”

Key Background

Floyd died on May 25 after white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. His death, which was filmed and witnessed globally, prompted sweeping and sustained anti-racism protests across the U.S. and the world and reignited the Black Lives Matter movement born out of the fight to raise awareness of-and stop-police brutality and the disproportionate deaths of Black people at the hands of police. The movement, founded in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, also prompted an awakening among decades-old institutions—including law enforcement, entertainment and corporate America—that continue to publicly confront their racist legacies. Fervent protests this year, in which demonstrators as well as Democratic lawmakers reignited calls for police reform, have resulted in a number of police departments proposing changes in a bid to become more accountable. But the ongoing protests have also been seized on and politicized by the Trump administration, who controversially deployed federal agents to Portland earlier this year, and used the protests to advance his “law and order” rhetoric.

Tangent

Chauvin and three responding officers present when Floyd died were subsequently fired and later charged, and face trial in March.

Further Reading

All The Places Planning Police Reform In The Wake Of George Floyd (Forbes)

Global Protests Sparked By George Floyd’s Death Spread To Toronto, London And Berlin (Forbes)

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