MINNEAPOLIS – A family-friendly street party, musical performances and moments of silence held Tuesday in honor of George Floyd and to commemorate the year since he died by Minneapolis police, a murder captured on a ripping audience video that the racial justice movement stimulated continues to bring calls for change.
Floyd’s sister Bridgett and other family members held a moment of silence at a Celebration of Life event in a park in downtown Minneapolis that included music, food trucks, an inflatable bouncy castle, and a vaccination booth. A few miles away, at the intersection where Floyd died, dozens of people kneeled around a steel fist sculpture for several minutes, symbolizing the 9 minutes and 29 seconds that Floyd was held.
“It’s been a troubling year, a long year,” Bridgett Floyd told the downtown crowd. “But we did it. … love is there. Georg is here. “
Other members of Floyd’s family met in Washington with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who urged Congress to quickly pass a law on Floyd’s behalf that would bring about changes in policing. A minute’s silence in honor of Floyd was also held in New York and a rally was held in Los Angeles. A rally took place worldwide in Germany and Floyd’s death was marked by US embassies in Greece and Spain.
Hours before the Minneapolis celebrations, the intersection where Floyd died was broken by gunfire.
The accompanying press video from 38th Street and Chicago Avenue – informally known as George Floyd Square – showed people running for cover when gunfire rang out. According to police, a man injured in the shooting was taken to a nearby hospital with a gunshot wound. Police said he was in critical condition but would survive. There were no immediate arrests.
»READ MORE: Sadness and smiles as the Floyd family meets Biden a year after their death
Philip Crowther, a reporter who works for AP Global Media Services, which provides live video coverage, said he heard up to 30 gunshots a block from the intersection. Crowther said a shop window appeared to be broken by gunfire.
“Things got back to normal very quickly,” said Crowther. “People here who spend a lot of time, the organizers, ran around and asked, ‘Does anyone need a paramedic?'”
Like other major cities, Minneapolis is grappling with increasing gun violence, a problem that has been made worse in part by the fact that many officials have left the contested force since Floyd’s death. In the past few weeks, a six-year-old girl was fatally shot and two other children were injured. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey unveiled comprehensive public safety proposals last week aimed at addressing the problem. Other groups are seeking a more radical redesign of the police force.
The intersection of 38th and Chicago was barricaded shortly after Floyd’s death. It quickly became a memorial – and a challenging place for the city too, where police officers are not always welcome.
The square was turned into an outdoor festival on Tuesday, with food, children’s activities and music. Sometimes people danced in the street. Artwork and signs of protests after Floyd’s death were also on display. One group hosted an open microphone next to a greenhouse that community members had built earlier this year to house flowers left by mourners. There was a brass band playing nearby for passers-by.
The celebration also included a candlelight vigil that concluded several days of marches, rallies and panel discussions about his death and the fight against racial discrimination.
Xavier Simmons, 24, of Racine, Wisconsin, shouted “Say his name!” when people knelt. Simmons said he hoped those attending the celebration will honor Floyd’s life and legacy as well as “elevate and strengthen this movement.”
“We got the judgment we needed, but it will never change until we make a change,” he said.
“You all keep going because you’re going to change the world,” Common, an award-winning rapper, actor and activist, told the crowd of hundreds during a musical performance on Tuesday night before the vigil.
»READ MORE: A year after the assassination of George Floyd, Minneapolis remains scarred and divided
After Common left the stage and day turned into night in George Floyd Square, people put candles on every corner and lit the area.
Floyd, 46, who was black, died on May 25, 2020 after then-officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck and pushed him to the floor for about 9 1/2 minutes. Chauvin, who is white, was found guilty of murder last month and will be sentenced on June 25th. Three other dismissed officers are still on trial.
Earl Vaughn, 20, from Minneapolis, attended the downtown event and said, despite the festive atmosphere, “A black man had to die for all of this, which is really unfortunate.”
In New York City, elected officials including Mayor Bill de Blasio and US MP Hakeem Jeffries knelt with Rev. Al Sharpton for 9 minutes 29 seconds. “Imagine how long that was on someone’s neck when we took a knee,” Sharpton said. “Never changed knees, just buried. It’s time we corrected the police in this country.”
On Tuesday evening, activists and protesters gathered with some families of people who had died in interactions with New York police in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They called for the police to be relieved, officials held accountable and police officers removed from schools. Following the rally, they set out on a march through the streets of Brooklyn.
Several of Floyd’s family members, including his young daughter Gianna, met with Biden and Harris the previous Tuesday. Biden, who previously pledged to continue to fight for racial justice, said he hoped the Senate could quickly pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and get it on his desk.
“We have to act,” he said of legislation that would ban strangleholds and police raids without knocking, and create a national register of officials disciplined for serious misconduct.
Floyd’s brother Philonise told CNN that he thinks of George “all the time”.
“My sister called me at noon last night and said, ‘This is the day our brother left us,’” he said, adding, “I think things have changed. I think it’s going slowly, but we’re making progress. “
Also on Tuesday, the US Senate voted to confirm Kristen Clarke as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, the first Black woman to hold office. In the past few weeks, the Justice Department under Biden announced a full investigation into police in Minneapolis and Louisville and brought federal charges against the officers involved in Floyd’s death.
Separately, the Floyd family announced the launch of a fund to provide grants and broader grants to businesses and community organizations in the neighborhood “to promote the success and growth of black citizens and community harmony.” The money comes from $ 500,000 earmarked for the Floyd family as part of the city’s $ 27 million civil settlement.
Associated Press writers Amy Forliti and Deepti Hajela in New York City contributed to this article.