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Congressional Black Caucus on the One Year Commemoration of the Murder of George Floyd
For Immediate Release
May 25, 2021
Airen Washington, Communications Director
Congressional Black Caucus on the One Year Commemoration of the Murder of George Floyd
CBC Members offer words of reflection and action after the one year commemoration of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Convicted Law Enforcement Officer Derek Chauvin
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Tuesday, May 25, 2021, marks one year since the horrific murder of George Floyd by former police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was found guilty of all three charges brought against him on April 20, 2021. Mr. Floyd’s murder was filmed on a camera phone and shared all over the world. Individuals nationwide organized to march, protest, and kneel in honor of George Floyd.
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), led by Chair Joyce Beatty, has been instrumental in advocating for change to prevent police brutality and killings of unarmed Black people. In response to George Floyd’s murder and in honor of the many others who have died due to police brutality, Congresswoman Karen Bass, in partnership with other Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, introduced The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is a bold, comprehensive bill focused on addressing police misconduct and creating systemic changes in policing. This comprehensive law enforcement reform bill seeks to improve police accountability, change the culture of law enforcement, and build trust between law enforcement, communities of color, and the American people.
Congressional Black Caucus Chair Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) offered the following quote: “Exactly one year ago, the world watched in horror as George Floyd was brutally murdered. While the former police officer responsible for his death has been convicted, that is not always the case. So, I will continue to say the names and fight for all those who have died or been injured senselessly by law enforcement. Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, Andre Hill, Casey Goodson, Jr., Ma’Khia Bryant, Tamir Rice, and George Floyd should be alive. Unfortunately, nothing will ever bring them back or undo the unimaginable heartache and loss their family, friends, and our communities have had to endure, but we can turn agony into action. The American people are demanding change, transparency, accountability, and equal justice. That is why I am calling on the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act immediately.”
Congressional Black Caucus First Vice-Chair Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04) offered the following quote: “One year ago, the horrific murder of George Floyd exposed the world to the trauma and fear that Black families experience every day. As a Black man raising Black children, I know that George Floyd’s death was not just about one officer or one department — it was the result of a broken system that too often views innocent Black men and women as threats. While the guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin’s trial gave us a moment of relief, true justice would have kept George Floyd alive and with his family today. As we mourn George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the hundreds of lives lost to law enforcement over the last year, we must act. The road to reform begins with passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, but we need systemic change to root out bias and build a safer world for Black people and all Americans.”
Congressional Black Caucus Second Vice-Chair Congressman Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) offered the following quote: “George Floyd should still be alive today. In the year following his murder, people all over the United States—and around the world—raised their voices for change. For George and the countless others who have lost their lives to police brutality, we need to get the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed in the Senate and signed into law. This is about accountability, transparency, and justice. On the anniversary of his murder, I’m sending strength and love to George’s family.”
Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (SC-06) offered the following quote: “The lynching of George Floyd was a moment in history that ignited an historic movement that hopefully will help redefine policing in our nation. And hopefully the conviction of Derick Chauvin for perpetrating this inhumane act will help restore humanity and accountability in the culture of policing. My thoughts and prayers are with the Floyd family today and always for the profound loss they have suffered.”
Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) offered the following quote: “A year ago today, the murder of George Floyd made clear the challenge that our nation has with police violence, police brutality, and the police abuse of force. Over the past 12 months, people of goodwill throughout America spoke up, stood up, and showed up to demand justice. House Democrats passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to bring accountability and transparency to police forces, and now the Senate must step up and also pass this crucial legislation. Today, as we remember George Floyd, we must also continue to recognize those seeking change and work together to continue our march toward a more perfect union.”
Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) offered the following quote: “Today marks 1 year since George Floyd was murdered. We must always remember the 9+ minutes that Chauvin kneeled on his neck and we must be committed to holding police accountable. George Floyd & others who have met similar fates must not have died in vain. The struggle continues.”
Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) offered the following quote: “While George Floyd’s murderer is behind bars preparing to be sentenced, so much more work needs to be done to hold police accountable and stop the killing of unarmed Black people in America. A good place to start would be for the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Many states and law enforcement agencies across the country have begun to reform their laws and use-of-force practices, but in just the last year, there have been hundreds of officer-involved deaths in the U.S. We still need federal legislation to help demilitarize police, ban chokeholds nationwide and bring more accountability and justice to our communities.”
Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24) offered the following quote: “A lot has changed since May 25, 2020. Millions of people of all races and ethnicities poured out into the streets for weeks in the midst of a pandemic to protest Chauvin’s cold-blooded actions. Confederate monuments have been removed. Diversifying the workplace has become less of a politically correct theory and more of an action taking place in businesses and corporations across the United States. Greater investments are being made in black businesses, communities, and arts, and several states have passed police reform legislation.
But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Black Americans are three times as likely to be killed by the police than whites. And, since Floyd’s murder, several other unarmed black men have been slain by police officers. Their families are still crying for justice. As we near the end of the pandemic and return to more normal lives, I pray that the millions of people who rallied for justice throughout this past year will not stop fighting for it. I know I won’t.”
Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) offered the following quote: “We must acknowledge that the knee on George Floyd’s neck was just one injustice in a series of compounding systems of racism and structural inequity that he experienced in his life. A descendant of enslaved people, George Floyd was born with generational trauma in his DNA and denied the generational wealth that belonged to his family. He survived the vicious cycle of our racist incarceration system and opioid crisis. He suffered through COVID-19 like so many Black and brown people across our communities.
Despite the adversity that George Floyd endured, he was full of life and love for his family, friends, and loved ones. It was in honor of his life that millions took to the streets in struggle for a world where George Floyd would never have been taken from us. We honor his life, legacy, and name by doing the work of achieving justice each and every day.”
Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) offered the following quote: “George Floyd and all of the people who we have lost to police violence are not martyrs or symbols or hashtags so much as they were parents, siblings, children, and members of their community. While we march in the streets after a shooting, a family is sitting in a funeral home, grieving. A pastor is finding a new singer for Sunday morning. A hospital is trying to find someone to cover shifts in the ER. Police killings are not only acts of violence against an individual; they’re an act of violence against a community, and that is why communities across the country have taken a stand over the past year.”
We must continue to take action by speaking up, by investing in our neighborhoods and families, and by passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act so that these killings, these attacks on our communities, become a thing of the past. That is how we will best approach justice in an unjust world,”
Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett (VI-00) offered the following quote: “Being the mother of 4 young Black men AND a member of Congress, I know that we must examine the social disparities that disproportionately affect Black men and boys in America. In 2019, Black people made up 24 percent of the police killings in the United States. A year later, let us keep in our prayers the family of George Floyd and all the families that are living through the tragedy of having lost someone at the hands of law enforcement - individuals who are supposed to serve and protect. The next step is justice for the countless other victims. Here in Washington, we must continue to work in order to reform the criminal justice system by passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, and we must work toward a more just and perfect union. BLACK LIVES MATTER!!!!!”
Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL-07) offered the following quote: “George Floyd should be alive today, and while his murderer was held accountable, the same cannot be said for countless Black Americans who continue to be killed at the hands of those whose job it is to serve and protect. On the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, we must recommit ourselves to the fight for true justice and see to it that the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is signed into law. It is impossible to change history without demanding the change we want to see.”
Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) offered the following quote: “George Floyd should still be alive. While his murderer was held accountable, we must do more to ensure true justice in our country. Communities of color have continued to grapple with all too familiar stories of police violence. Each new killing reopening an all too familiar cycle of pain, anger, and calls for reform. Congress has a duty to pass meaningful police accountability legislation.
We must change the culture of policing in our country to ensure officers act as guardians of our communities rather than a militarized force. Maryland is already leading and taking long-overdue steps to limit the use of force, restrict no-knock warrants and ensure police officers are accountable to the communities they serve. It’s time to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to bring these reforms nationwide.”
Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) offered the following quote: “We cannot rest until we pass the Justice in Policing Act in George Floyd’s name. As the mother of a Black son, listening to George Floyd cry out for his mother will haunt me forever. As we mark one year since his death, let us never forget the humanity for which we fight.”
“Let us never forget that George’s life mattered - and that the lives of countless others whose names we know and don’t know matter too. But as we mark one year since his passing, we can also recognize the truth in the words of his daughter, Gianna - George Floyd changed the world. May we continue to change it for the better in his memory.”
Congressman Bobby L. Rush (IL-01) offered the following quote: “George Floyd’s gruesome murder at the hands — or rather, the knee — of a heartless police officer shocked our nation’s conscience and sparked a historic wave of activism in righteous defense of Black lives, reminiscent of the way that Emmett Till’s lynching sent shockwaves through the country and galvanized a generation of civil rights leaders more than half a century ago,” Rush said. “On this solemn anniversary, we mourn the death of George Floyd and countless other Black men killed at the hands of police, and we look forward, with hope and determination, to passing comprehensive legislation that will reform the broken institution of policing in this nation.”
“We have to address the ruthless violence of the police profession. Our police forces must be highly professional, highly educated, highly trained, and highly paid personnel who adhere to the highest standards of public safety and public protection. Only the best of us should be able to carry out arrests and imprison and enforce the laws of our nation — only the best, not the worst. We still have a long way to go to ensure that every American has a guaranteed right to equal justice under the law. As we mark this solemn anniversary in the wake of Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict, we must remember that police accountability is not synonymous with justice.”
Congresswoman Lucy McBath (GA-06) offered the following quote: “There is no action that can be taken, nor decision that can be made that would bring George Floyd back to his family. We must continue to look forward toward peace and progress, and we must work harder to pass legislation to ensure justice shines bright for every single American.”
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) offered the following quote: “Our system of law enforcement must be guided by a humane and equitable approach to justice. This happens through a comprehensive approach to holding police accountable. Through decisive changes to law enforcement culture, thorough empowering our communities, and most importantly through addressing systemic racism and bias. It is time to make the change; no more lives should be lost to chokeholds and no-knock warrants — which took the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Eric Garner. No more lives should be lost during routine traffic stops — which took the lives of Duante Wright, Rayshard Brooks, and Philando Castile. It is time to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, full stop. We honor your memory with action, dear brother George Floyd. No more lives should be lost due to police violence.”
Congressman Kweisi Mfume (MD-07) offered the following quote: “For too long, the relationships between some communities and some law enforcement officers sworn to protect them have been strained and often spoiled. Defenseless men and women have too often been unjustifiably beaten and murdered at the hands of some police officers. The George Floyd murder is one example,” said Congressman Kweisi Mfume. “As members of Congress, we must continue to advance reforms of our criminal justice system and pass police accountability legislation, once and for all.”
Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) offered the following quote: “My heart goes out to George Floyd’s family on this solemn day as we mourn his loss and honor him with action. While we cannot bring George Floyd back, we must do everything in our power to reform how law enforcement engages with all communities, especially communities of color. The U.S. Senate cannot wait another day. It's time to take action on police reform to improve public safety for all people.”
The landmark legislation has already passed in the House, and we will continue using “Our Power [and] Our Message” to urge the Senate to take up the Act and get it to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
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