Christopher Harris met George Floyd when they were in sixth grade in Houston, Texas

By Wendy Grossman Kantor
June 03, 2020 01:46 PM
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Christopher Harris

George Floyd wouldn’t want anything to have been burned or looted -- even in the name of a good cause, says Floyd's longtime friend, Christopher Harris.

If Floyd were alive, he would have tried to stop protesters from directing their anger into destroying property, Harris says.

“If they knew my brother, nothing would have ever been burned, nothing ever would have been set on fire,” says Harris, 45. “That’s not him.”

Harris met Floyd when they were in sixth grade in Houston, Texas – and they saw each other almost daily after both men moved to Minneapolis. Harris describes his friend as kind and gentle -- someone who loved playing basketball and was always laughing, joking and making people smile. Floyd, he says, was a gentle giant.

“He was so big, you couldn’t help but feel safe,” Harris says of his 6-foot-6 friend who weighed about 240 pounds. “He was built like Zeus.”

Christopher Harris

Harris says Floyd always tried to protect people.

“If you saw him walking down the street, and you didn’t know him, you would run. But if you knew him, and you were walking down a dark way, you would run to him because you knew he would protect you,” Harris says.

Harris thinks the protests sweeping the country are important.

“It lets officials know the voice of the people,” Harris says. “You’ve got good people out there protesting, getting shot with rubber bullets -- and you’ve got other people out there shoplifting and looting and stealing….I can’t do nothing but pray for them.”

Christopher Harris

Like millions across the country, Harris wants justice for Floyd’s family and a conviction for the officers.

“That officer didn’t know how important that man was. He just [saw] a regular black guy and he didn’t know how important he was,” Harris says. “This wasn’t a regular old black guy. This was George Perry Floyd. And now the world knows who he is.”

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

•Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

•National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.