Two Years After the Murder of George Floyd
Today at NPAP, we honor the memory of George Floyd, a man and father whose life was cut short at 46 when he was killed by Minneapolis police on this day two years ago.
George Floyd inspired a national outcry against police brutality, perhaps the greatest we will see in our lifetimes, but he did not ask to be a martyr, spectacle, or vehicle for change. Today we are thinking of all his life held and all that laid ahead for him.
George Floyd was born in North Carolina to a family with roots in the state’s tobacco fields and moved to Houston at two-years-old with his mother so that she could find work. Authors of his recent biography His Name Is George Floyd tell us he was a father and friend and the backbone of his family and community. Like so many Black men in America, he faced the ongoing effects of racial discrimination in housing, policing, education, and healthcare, and he struggled with the symptoms of a lifetime of racism. He grappled with addiction, housing instability and was imprisoned for five years. He had moved to Minneapolis for a fresh start, working as a security guard at a shelter for the unhoused, providing safety for others.
Like so many Americans, George Floyd was laid off at the start of the pandemic. He was raising a daughter who was six at the time of his death. He had friends and family and community who loved him, and there is no telling what other potential his life held.
We are a police accountability organization, but today we must acknowledge the limitations of a system where settlements and prosecutions are considered wins, when they can never restore life or undo the trauma of police brutality. Accountability is crucial, but in the case of lost parents and friends and siblings and children, it is never quite enough.
Today, we honor and reflect on George Floyd not as a rallying cry for change but as a man, a father, a friend, a community member, and a life cut far too short.
Photo via Pixabay from F. Muhammad (ArtisticOperations). Link to original photo here.