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George Floyd: an ordinary man who became a symbol all over the world


Followers in the streets chanted, “Say his name!” about one year. Last week the prosecutor made the remarks in a court of law in Minneapolis.

“His name was George Perry Floyd Jr.”

A common man, 46-year-old Floyd was a father, son and brother whose deadly murder under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer turned him into a symbol of the insecurity of black Americans because of the oppression of apartheid.

A video of the event sparked protests around the world. Millions across the country have seen the case of Derek Chauvin. On Tuesday, after a 10-hour discussion, the court found Chauvin guilty to kill.

“We saw Derek Chauvin make a decision at 9:29 a.m. to save George Floyd’s life,” said Melina Abdullah, one of the founders of the Los Angeles Black Lives Matter title. The international protests after his assassination, he says, are showing collective refusal to accept that his life could end.

Floyd grew up in Houston, Texas, loves banana and mayonnaise sandwiches and is nicknamed “Big Floyd” because of his height. He lost his job during the epidemic and had an opioid problem.

He is also now “A Mark of Change”, the name of a photograph of his face about four meters long by artist Peyton Scott Russell living on the crossroads where he was killed. Guests gather flowers outside the Cup Foods store, while Floyd allegedly spent $ 20 counterfeit money, prompting police to make phone calls, and a nearby image of a fist is pushing into the air. A picture of a man on the street is drawn by the wings of an angel.

Floyd is all human, says Duane T Loynes Sr., professor of urban and African studies at Rhodes College, as well as “a symbol in America to see what people mean when we talk about Black Lives Matter… You have a system that doesn’t care.” [black people] growing up, which doesn’t care about their life. ”

He was born in 1973 to George Floyd Sr. and Larcenia “Cissy” Jones Floyd, one of five brothers. He was young when the family moved to Cuney Homes, a construction project in Third Ward, where there were black people in Houston.

Always having a strong relationship with his mother, his younger brother Philonise Floyd testified in the case. “She was the oldest child,” she said. He taught us how to deal with our mothers and how to honor our mothers. ”

“Perry,” as his family calls him, used to make sure his siblings had clothes and no food at school, said Philonise Floyd. The brothers played Nintendo video games together as Double drive and Tecmo Bowl. (George often wins.) The house was filled with scars on the wall when he measured its height, which eventually reaches more than six meters.

“They want to be tall all the time because they love sports,” Philonise said.

Floyd played American basketball and soccer in high school and won a scholarship to the local college, now known as South Florida State College. He left two years later and went to Texas A&M University in Kingsville, but left without completing his studies and returned to Houston.

He was arrested on drug charges and repeatedly robbed between 1997 and 2005, The Associated Press reports. In 2007, he was convicted of armed robbery, pleaded guilty two years later and sentenced to five years in prison.

After his release, he began participating in the resurrection in Houston, a new church formed in his old neighborhood. He informed the shepherds of the inhabitants, who he was told Houston KHOU television station “most of what I was able to do at Cuney Homes was because of George Floyd”.

But Floyd moved to Minneapolis in 2014 to look for a job helping his daughter, born a year ago, and just starting out. He was working as a security guard in the Salvation Army, where his colleague, Michelle Seals, remembered him for his kindness. He later drove cars and was bad at the Conga Latin Bistro, but lost his job when the Covid-19 closed down bars and restaurants.

Mary Ginns, a high school colleague, told NPR Last year Floyd had already told her he was “changing the world”.

“We were like,‘ We know you are, ’” he said. “You live in the NBA. . . But God put something in him to see it a different way. He may not have known what he was saying at the time, but that is what he did. He has changed this world. ”

Abdullah states that “George Floyd’s name always rises in the moment when the world will open and some people use it as a moment to make a difference”.

How many changes is an unanswered question. Recently, protesters returned to the streets to protest the assassinations of Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo and Ma’Khia Bryant – the names of three of the country’s most brutal victims in three weeks’ testimony. President Joe Biden is urging lawmakers to consider the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would prohibit certain forms of police crackdown and efforts to improve police training.

But as Floyd is known as a symbol, remembering his personality is important, says Anthony Pinn, a professor of religion at Rice University in Houston. “This, among other things, is essential to the request for us to ‘say his name’,” he says. “As far as his personality is concerned, reminding ourselves that he is more than just what happened to him.”


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