Photo by Ackerman + Gruber

Tomorrow marks exactly one year since Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd. The whole world bore witness.

As we mark this day, and honor the iconic status Mr. Floyd has gained as the face of a movement for crucial change, we also want to take a moment on this day of remembrance to make sure we honor him as a man.

We can never forget:

  • George Floyd was a dad.
  • George Floyd was a boyfriend.
  • George Floyd was a son, a brother, an uncle, a cousin.
  • George Floyd was a friend.

All of that was lost to the world in the 9 minutes and 29 seconds Derek Chauvin knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck, aided by three other officers who helped kill him. It is unfair and wrong that the people who loved Mr. Floyd most have only their memories – and that his brutal murder is now one of them.

One year later, we wish we could report that more has changed. Despite protests across our state, city and nation, police are still killing people, especially in BIPOC communities. Police killed on average three people every day of the Derek Chauvin trial.

Real change in Minneapolis has been slow to come.

But there have been some bright spots.

Brooklyn Center just passed one of the most transformative policing packages in the nation, in response to the police killings of Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler. Multiple cities are diverting funding from traditional policing toward community resources such as crisis response teams headed by social workers and substance abuse experts, rather than armed police with no training or expertise. States and municipalities are rethinking how they handle traffic issues and other low-level offenses with citations, rather than arrests or uses of force. The ACLU-MN helped win the diversion of $8 million from policing to community programs, and a ban on facial recognition technology by police. Next up, Minneapolis residents will vote on a charter amendment to reduce the role, resources, and power of police.

These kinds of changes would have saved George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Eric Garner, Philando Castile and so many others.

The ACLU of Minnesota has joined in coalition with Black-led allies and activists who are leading the way to end racist and violent policing, and to build thriving communities that are safe for all people.

There’s a lot of work to be done.

Tuesday, we at the ACLU-MN hope you’ll take a moment to join George Floyd’s family and our community in mourning his death and celebrating his life, and doing the same for all of those who’ve had loved ones killed by police.

We will never forget to Say Their Names, and we must never stop fighting for true justice for them all.