The day after the anniversary will start "another journey for us to put our heads together and be at the forefront for all needed changes," says George Floyd's sister

By Jeff Truesdell
May 25, 2021 03:10 PM
Bridgett Floyd
Bridgett Floyd
| Credit: Marie D. De Jesus

One year since her brother George's murder, Bridgett Floyd says she's "a little stronger" than she was when she was devastated by the news and the horrific footage of his final moments last May 25.

"I have been through so much in this last year," Bridgett tells PEOPLE. "I have no choice but to be strong and carry this weight, and carry this position that God has put me in. Because I didn't see it coming. None of us did." 

In the intervening year, she has turned her grief into activism to combat police brutality and systemic racism. The one-year anniversary of the murder is a day to celebrate George's life — but the next day, she says, marks the beginning of "another journey to letting the world know about George Floyd. Another journey for us to put our heads together and be at the forefront for all needed changes."

George was murdered by convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed a knee to George's neck for nearly nine minutes while George lay on the pavement during his arrest for allegedly spending a counterfeit $20 bill.

George Floyd, the man who was killed by police officers in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.
George Floyd
| Credit: George Floyd

As onlookers, including an off-duty first-responder, tried but failed to urged Chauvin to back off, a teen filmed a video record that went viral. The response led to protests and marches worldwide, and in Congress, to a pending law bearing George Floyd's name that would ban police chokeholds and create a national registry of police misconduct.

George joined a roster of names -- among them Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor and Daunte Wright --- whose deaths at the hands of police drove the Black Lives Matter movement.

On Tuesday the Floyd family announced a new grant program seeded with $500,000 from a $27 million civil settlement with the City of Minneapolis to help businesses, community organizations and nonprofits in the predominantly Black neighborhood where George died. The fund complements the mission of the George Floyd Memorial Foundation, which Bridgett leads as president.

She acknowledges the place that the Minneapolis intersection, now known as George Floyd Square, holds in history.

It "will be a special place forever," she says, but adds: "It's just really, really sad that people have to visit a street and see murals and flowers and cards and art and things like that, to really get to see how much a person was loved. Because he should still be here; he should still be here. They should be able to see him, walk with him, talk with him."

"Everything that he wanted to do, he did — he got a chance to do," Bridgett says of George. "We will try our best to repeat those things in the community."

"A year has came around just that fast. I really thought that my brother's death would be the last police brutality case. But as we all can see, they are added again and again and again."

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"But with the passing of this George Floyd bill that I know the president will sign — we don't know when, but I have a good feeling about this bill being passed — that would protect these families from hurting," she says. "Because these police officers need to be held accountable for their actions. That really needs to happen. So they can know that when they break the law, when they take a loved one from someone, they have to think twice about it." 

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"We are human beings," she says. "We bleed the same way they bleed. The same breath God put in our body, he puts in their body. There's no reason why this should still be happening."

"I think about how I have young Black kids, and how I do not want them to end up being one of these victims," she says. "I don't want the police to one day bully them, and they don't know how to handle the situation. So, I talked to them and they see that I get out here and I put my boots on and I go and do what I have to do. So the world can hear me. So the world can hear what Derek did to my brother. What he took from us."

"Looking at my kids every day, being Black kids," she says, "I have no choice but to continue this fight."

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