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Families, activists, artists gather for celebration of George Floyd's life in Minneapolis

Nation marks anniversary of George Floyd's death
Nation marks anniversary of George Floyd's death 04:12

A celebration of George Floyd's life was held in downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday, a year after his death at the hands of police sparked worldwide protests and a reckoning on racial justice. The event, organized by the George Floyd Memorial Foundation, caps days of marches, rallies and panel discussions to memorialize Floyd and call for federal action on police reform.

The event celebrated "the life and legacy of George Floyd through black culture, art, history and support of local businesses," according to a release from the foundation, founded by Floyd's sister Bridgett Floyd. Musical performances included an act by Grammy-winning gospel singer Le'Andria Johnson, and community activists urged continued action following the conviction of Derek Chauvin for Floyd's murder last month. Before Johnson took the stage Tuesday afternoon, the group observed a moment of silence for Floyd.

Singer Le'Andria Johnson performs May 25, 2021, at a Celebration of Life event in Minneapolis marking a year since George Floyd's death at the hands of police.
Singer Le'Andria Johnson performs May 25, 2021, at a Celebration of Life event in Minneapolis marking a year since George Floyd's death at the hands of police. WCCO-TV

Speaking to the crowd, Bridgett Floyd repeated the call for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. She said President Biden "broke a promise" to pass the bill by Tuesday's anniversary, but she is still hopeful the bill will be signed.

"There's been a lot of names added to the list after my brother's death, and still nothing's being done," Floyd said.

Families of other victims of police violence spoke to the crowd, including Jacob Blake Sr., the father of Jacob Blake, who was shot multiple times in the back by officers in Wisconsin last August; and Bianca Austin, the aunt of Breonna Taylor, who was shot to death in March 2020 in her Louisville home during a botched police raid.

"There's so many of us now, it's real sad," said Austin of the victims' family members. "But it's a blessing we all get to stand in solidarity with each other."

Austin urged continued pressure to hold police accountable for their actions, including in Taylor's death, for which no one has been charged. Of George Floyd, she said, "I know you are up there protecting my niece, because that's the type of man he was."

George Floyd
People take a knee during a moment of silence on the one year anniversary of George Floyd's death on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minn at the intersection where he was killed. Christian Monterrosa / AP

Another event was held Tuesday at 38th and Chicago, also known as "George Floyd Square," the Minneapolis intersection where Floyd was killed. Organized by the George Floyd Global Memorial, the event featured community art, free food, a children's area, an open mic and demonstrations.

Tuesday morning, before the event got underway, gunshots rang out near the intersection, causing community members and media to duck for cover. Minneapolis police said they responded to a nearby block for the report of shots fired and a suspect who fled in a car. Later, police say, someone showed up with a gunshot injury to a local hospital. The wound is not life-threatening, police said.

Other members of George Floyd's family spent the day in Washington, D.C., where they met with President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House. They also met with members of Congress to continue pushing for bipartisan support for police reform.

George Floyd's family speaks after meeting with President Biden 10:40
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