Family of George Floyd to commemorate anniversary of his death

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 7:32 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, NC (WDBJ) - Derek Chauvin’s attorney has requested a new trial, but George Floyd’s uncle is not concerned, saying he believes a second round in court would also result in a conviction.

Chauvin’s attorney has filed a motion citing jury misconduct, witness intimidation, and the impact of publicity.

“It’s obviously within his constitutional and legal right to do that,” Roger Floyd, who lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, told WDBJ7. “It doesn’t really concern me because the prosecution did an excellent job. There was a clear conviction on all three charges.”

Instead, Floyd says, the end of the trial is just the beginning of the change the family hopes to see. He is looking ahead to the anniversary of his nephew’s death May 25, hoping to engage the public as we approach that somber date.

Floyd was one of the first people to hold his nephew the day he was born. His reaction was gut-wrenching as he watched George Floyd take his last breath.

“It is a modern-day lynching,” Floyd said. “The end result is a life was lost.”

Watching the trial drummed up more strong emotions.

“You have to relive this all over again, and internalize it,” Floyd said. “This is family. What was going on in his mind as his life was being taken?”

Derek Chauvin’s murder conviction has let him breathe a little easier.

“Just a moment to exhale, and then get right back to work advocating for change. And I mean real change,” he said.

Some of the reform he advocates for is laid out in the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act,” a bill before Congress that re-examines policing practices and accountability.

“Re-structuring from a standpoint of training,” Floyd said. “More substations in the communities that they protect and serve. More streetwalking, meeting the people that you served. Knowing who these people are, so there is more de-escalation when a situation occurs.”

He hopes leaders in police departments across the country will support those efforts.

However, the Floyd family is also taking action of their own. Change is happening in a former insurance office in Raleigh. There, it used to be a 9-to-5 job for Floyd, but since he has retired, it is now all all about 5-25.

“The Day of Enlightenment,” Floyd calls the anniversary of his relative’s death. “Because of the wakening of individuals across the world, they saw exactly what happened to George.”

To commemorate that date, the family is selling hats, T-shirts, bracelets and other apparel branded 5-25-20. The sales benefit the newly-established George Floyd Memorial Center.

Its goal is to promote socioeconomic growth in marginalized communities, starting in North Carolina, the state where George Floyd was born. The center aims to provide free jobs and skills training and scholarships.

“There’s a movement now. Working toward eradicating systemic racism, social injustice, disenfranchisement,” Floyd said.

It is a mission, he says, rooted in his family’s characteristic way of loving deeply.

“Our mother always told us, Jesus, you take the Lord with you everywhere you go, and you’ll be protected. With George, and losing a family member, it always hurts. But we get through it because of our faith,” he said.

For him, giving back through the center is now a purpose much bigger than the Floyd family.

“We’re not going to dwell on doom and gloom. We’re not going to be the victim,” Floyd said. “This is about what we can do to help our community, our state, our country, in the name of George Floyd.”

He hopes the public will wear the “D.O.E.” apparel on the anniversary of Floyd’s death, and that May 25 will remain synonymous with George Floyd’s name in years to come.

Saturday, the family will hold its first “Day of Enlightenment” rally to commemorate the anniversary. That will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the John P. “Top” Green Community Center in the downtown Raleigh area.

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