Terrol Perkins Data News Weekly Contributor
I will never forget the events that transpired on May 25, 2020, when a cop named Derek Chauvin subdued George Floyd to the pavement and knelt on his neck for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds. After that day, America stood still in disbelief and mourning. Ever since the graphic video was released of Rodney King’s brutal beating by police in 1991, the general public continues to watch atrocious misuses of police power on their television screens. Since 1991, there have been multiple cases of police brutality against African American men, such as Michael Brown and Philando Castile, but the Floyd’s case resonated differently amongst many Americans, especially Black Americans. While being suffocated by Chauvin, Floyd repeatedly stated that he “couldn’t breathe.” The fact that he begged for Chauvin get his knee off of his neck for such a long period of time was infuriating to the bystanders and the general public. I remember weeping after watching the video of Floyd’s death repeatedly on CNN. I, along with many other Americans of all races and creed were outraged. Many took to the streets to protest, which defined the summer of 2020. Not only were we living in the middle of a Pandemic, but we were also undergoing a racial reckoning which still continues today.
Although most protests were predominantly peaceful, the nights of the summer months in many cities of the United States were often plagued with riots and violence. Some misguided souls thought that peacefully demonstrating wasn’t adequately enough to make the rich and powerful take notice of the racism that minorities face. My family and I never tried to condone the riots because we knew that violence is never the answer in seeking for impactful reform in our society. Yet, despite all of the protests, riots, and proposals to reform policing in this country created by Congressmen or separate organizations, a year has passed, and no tangible progress has been made to transform policing on a national scale. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act has yet to be ratified by Congress and both parties seem unable to come to a consensus on how to deal with police misconduct.
As I observed President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris welcome the Floyd family to the White House on the Anniversary of George’s death this year, I feel like we are at exactly the same place we were a year ago: all talk but no results. However, I remain optimistic, I have faith that our leaders will overcome petty partisan squabbles, pass tangible and reasonable police reform to protect Black and brown communities, so we won’t have to live through another George Floyd incident.