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Examining The Year Of Racial Reckoning Since George Floyd's Death, And Work That Still Needs To Be Done

CHICAGO (CBS) -- George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police a year ago Tuesday.

It has been a year of racial reckoning since, as well as a year of reflection on what must change when it comes to communities of color.

As CBS 2's Jim Williams reported, the nation has taken a much deeper look at police conduct and racism. And we know from the past that it is an examination that will go on for a long time.

The murder of George Floyd sparked the largest call for racial justice in this country since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - in big cities and small towns, in sports leagues and in corporate America.

The target was not simply police misconduct, but racism across every sector of America.

Williams: "I keep hearing this over and you no doubt hear it too – 'The world has changed. George Floyd's murder changed the world.' But has it really?"

Dr. Lionel Kimble: "We would like to think that it's really changed. It's good we're thinking about it. We've come a long way, but there's still a long road of ahead of us."

Kimble, a professor at Chicago State University sees progress in the last year - as blue-chip companies including Nike, Target, and Apple pledge millions to social justice organizations, and pledge commitment to diversity and inclusion in their ranks. More people of color have moved into top management jobs.

Still, Dr. Kimble notes that does not address the anguish of many African-Americans.

"We have people like you and I who were fortunate enough to be in a position to enjoy some of the trappings of middle class; success of the American Dream," he said, "but for so many of us in our communities on the South and West Side, it's a challenge to appreciate some of these things."

There are similarities to the aftermath of Dr. King's murder in 1968. Unrest erupted, and doors were opened for some African-Americans - as others were left behind.

"Those people with the adequate resources, adequate educations, connections and so forth, jobs, experiences - they were able to really reap the benefits of the civil rights revolution," Kimble said, "and those folks without the necessary means were largely locked out of it."

He continued, "Talking about the problem is one thing. Providing adequate resources to address these fundamental racial disparities in our communities is another."

Dr. Kimble wants to see more resources in Black and Brown communities, and also discussed how he thinks police conduct should be addressed?

He called for more Black and Brown officers, mental health professionals to de-escalate incidents, and passage of the George Floyd Policing Act in Congress.

Meanwhile, the chief executive officer of the National Urban League, Marc Morial, told CBS News that donors to his civil rights organization doubled in 2020. But he adds a lot more support is needed than that.

A number of events were also held in Chicago and around the nation to mark one year sine Floyd's death. Outside the St. Benedict Catholic Parish, at 2215 W. Irving Park Rd. in North Center, a group held a prayer service and fanned out across Irving Park Road with their signs of support – encouraging everyone to stand up for racial justice and equality.

Also Tuesday, a Chicago artist's project called "Demand Justice," was unveiled along the lakefront in honor of the George Floyd Anniversary.

Demand Justice
(Credit: CBS 2)

Maxwell Emcays used the Faces of Dr. King and Malcolm X to call on everyone to speak out when they see injustice.

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