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George Floyd was killed one year ago today: "He literally has changed the world"

The impact of donations after George Floyd
Looking at the impact of donations after George Floyd and if the fundraising was sustainable 04:26

Nearly a year ago, protesters in the United States and around the world — enraged by the video of George Floyd's death and fueled by decades of injustice — began asking "What more can I do?"

Tuesday marks one year since former police officer Derek Chauvin murdered Floyd on a Minneapolis street. Video of the killing inspired millions of Americans to join mass demonstrations.

In Minneapolis, the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago where George Floyd spent his final moments under Chauvin's knee has been transformed from a bustling neighborhood corner to a solemn square of reflection.

Chauvin's murder verdict brought some relief to some, but Minneapolis resident April Foster told CBS News' Jeff Pegues she still worries for her 15-year-old son. 

"That could have been my son," she said.

Asked if the fear has gone away over time, Foster answered only "to some degree."

May 25 is also Foster's birthday, but she said she will spend part of the day reflecting on Floyd.

"I'm going to think about him and his life that he had. He literally has changed the world," she said.

People have also shown their support financially, and big companies like Nike, Apple and Target pledged millions of dollars to social justice initiatives.

Donations have since decreased, but racial justice leaders hope the giving will continue. 

One of the causes that benefitted was the National Bail Fund Network. It raised $75 million in two weeks after Floyd's death.

"We bail out folks who cannot afford to pay," Andrea Hudson, director of the North Carolina Community Bail Fund of Durham told CBS News' Jericka Duncan.  "We get the folks who need it the most — the working class, the poor, the homeless who can't afford to pay a bondsman so they languish in cages because they can't afford it."

Hudson said her group had gone from bailing out "maybe two to five people a month" to bailing out five to seven people per week.

Benevity, a company that processes donations worldwide since 2008, says more than half of all donations at this time last year went to racial justice and equity causes. 

"$166 million went to social justice and racial equity causes in June. That was the most we had ever seen of any cause category in our entire history," said Sona Khosla, chief impact officer at Benevity.

Khosla said the amount has since dropped to approximately 5% or 6% of all donations. 

"We're driven to move when an issue becomes acute and when it's the focus," she said. "When it goes back to being normal, we step back into doing our normal thing, which is usually nothing."

Nationwide, dozens of corporations pledged over $1.7 billion in the fight against racism. While some of that money went to racial justice and equity groups like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Equal Justice Initiative, part of the pledges were for corporate diversity initiatives.

National Urban League president and CEO Marc Morial said his organization saw its number of donors double in 2020. But Morial worries the surge may not be enough.

"I look at it this way," he said. "There's been support, but not at the levels and not at the magnitude necessary to confront America's most demanding and pressing problem, and that is the challenges around racial justice."

As protests continue, activists like Andrea Hudson press on.

"You got to keep fighting. I wish it was a fight that we didn't have to fight because I'm always saying I fight for freedom because freedom should be for free. But since it's not I have to fight for it," she said. 

Last week Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey outlined policing proposals re-emphasized or introduced after Floyd's death, including banning neck restraints and chokeholds and banning most no-knock warrants. 

City Councilor Jeremiah Ellison called the changes "progress," but he also supports defunding the police.

"There are a lot of emergencies in our city that don't necessarily require a police response and and aren't made safer by the department that we have," he said.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the value of donations pledged by corporations.

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