A Year After Derek Chauvin's Conviction, George Floyd's Sister Says Brother 'Truly Did Change the World'

"Our ultimate goal at the George Floyd Memorial Foundation is to help make our world a better place, one day at a time," says his sister Bridgett

George Floyd, Bridget Floyd
George Floyd, left, and Bridgett Floyd. Photo: Marie D. De Jesus

One year after ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's conviction for murdering her brother in an act that sparked a national reckoning on racial justice and police brutality, George Floyd's sister is reflecting on his impact.

"I want to make my brother George proud," Bridgett Floyd tells PEOPLE in a statement. "He meant the world to me and his death truly did change the world. Together, by continuing our efforts to educate, inform and enlighten, we believe the world will be a better place."

Bridgett is co-founder and president of the George Floyd Memorial Foundation, which was created after Floyd's death in 2020. His murder occurred while he was on the ground in police custody, as Chauvin pressed a knee to Floyd's neck for about nine minutes. The killing was caught on bystander video that went viral.

Chauvin, 45, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter, and sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison. Last December he also pleaded guilty to a separate federal charge of violating Floyd's civil rights.

Derek Chauvin
Derek Chauvin in court June 25, 2021, at his sentencing. ALEX LEDERMAN/AFP via Getty

On this first anniversary of Chauvin's murder conviction, "we are continually saddened that my brother is no longer here to light up a room or volunteer to help those less fortunate, but also heartened by the incredible response we have received to the foundation we created in his honor," says Bridgett.

"Over the past year, the George Floyd Memorial Foundation has provided more than $50,000 in scholarships to deserving college and law school students, established an internship program with Texas A&M-Commerce's African-American Male Mentorship Program, hosted George Floyd Volunteerism Week in which thousands of people around the country worked to make their communities better and safer places and supported other families who have suffered similar tragedies at the hands of law enforcement," she says.

"According to research, police killings of Black people in the United States leads to more than 50 million additional days of poor mental health per year among Black Americans," she says.

Going forward, the foundation has partnered with University of Cincinnati psychologist Calisha Brooks on a program focused on the mental health of Black Americans, with plans to offer training grants to Black men and women seeking therapy "as well as providing support to train culturally competent mental health providers."

George Floyd memorials
A memorial near the scene of George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis. KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty

"Our ultimate goal at the George Floyd Memorial Foundation," says Bridgett, "is to help make our world a better place, one day at a time."

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Floyd, 46, was killed May 25, 2020, during his detention for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a corner convenience store.

Chauvin's guilty verdict followed a prosecution that replayed over and over what millions around the world had seen, propelling them into the streets in protest: the bystander video of Chauvin, his hands in his pockets and his sunglasses perched atop his head, with Floyd underneath him crying out for his dead mother and repeatedly gasping, "I can't breathe."

Chauvin was fired a day after the murder.

President Joe Biden called Chauvin's murder conviction "a giant step forward in the march towards justice in America," and met with members of Floyd's family at the White House after the verdict.

Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane Tou Thao
From left, former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. AP/Shutterstock

Three other former officers with Chauvin at the scene of Floyd's murder — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — were convicted in February on federal charges of violating Floyd's civil rights. A federal indictment accused each of deliberate indifference to his medical needs and failing to provide aid as Chauvin, the senior officer on the scene, fatally pressed his knee into Floyd's neck while they watched. They all testified on their own behalf to say they were trusting Chauvin's lead.

Kueng and Thao each faced an additional federal charge of failing to intervene as Chauvin harmed Floyd, on which they were also found guilty.

Kueng, Lane and Thao all still await a trial on state charges for aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter in Floyd's case. All have pleaded not guilty to those charges.

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