Mourners Gather For George Floyd Memorial In Minneapolis

by Julie Scagell
Hundreds Gather For Moving George Floyd Memorial In Minneapolis

Many eulogized Floyd’s life and called for continued action to protest his death

A memorial service for George Floyd was held today in Minneapolis after he was murdered on May 25 by a police officer who knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while onlookers pleaded for him to stop.

Many attended the event, including Al Sharpton, the family of Martin Luther King Jr., Kevin Hart, Ludacris, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, Jesse Jackson, other political and religious leaders, and family and friends of Floyd, including his 9-year-old daughter, Gianna.

“Everywhere you go, you see people how they cling to him,” his brother, Philonise Floyd, said during his eulogy. “They wanted to be around him.”

The private memorial was held in the sanctuary on the downtown Minneapolis campus of North Central University, located about three miles north of where Floyd was murdered. Thousands gathered outside of the service to pay their respects and people around the world watched on television and online.

Family attorney Benjamin Crump, acknowledging Floyd had COVID-19 when he died, said in part, “It was that other pandemic we’re all too familiar with in America — it was that pandemic of racism and discrimination that killed George Floyd.”

North Central University President Scott Hagan was applauded early in the service when he announced that the school would start a scholarship in Floyd’s name dedicated to young black leaders. He challenged other universities and colleges around the country to do the same, and together, they have already raised more than $53,000.

Next to the golden casket where Floyd lay, an image of the mural painted at the street corner where Floyd died was shown. Floyd’s face was shown above the words, “Now I can breathe.” A choir and musicians filled the room with gospel music during the service.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is scheduled to deliver a eulogy at the service. “He was a human being. He had family, he had dreams, he had hopes,” Sharpton said during a news conference yesterday. “The real duty of one with this type of assignment is to underscore the value of the human life that was taken, which gives the reason the movement was occurring.”

The event is the first of three scheduled this week to pay respect to Floyd whose death and the death of so many other Black men and women sparked protests, riots, and calls for change in how people of color are treated by the police. On Saturday, a memorial will be held in Raeford, NC where Floyd was born; and a funeral will be held in Houston on Tuesday where he lived before moving to the Twin Cities about five years ago.

“Out of all the years that I’ve been marching and protesting and doing eulogies and speeches, I’m more hopeful going to this service than I have been in a long time,” Sharpton said. “Because I see more Americans of different races and different ages standing up together, marching together, raising their voices together.”

Watch the memorial below.