The memorial a George Floyd saw family and friends, strangers and celebrities gather for a last farewell to man who became the symbol of the desire for change in a still deeply racist America. The event, broadcast live by a large number of US television networks, took place in a sanctuary inside the North Central University of Minneapolis and allowed us to reflect on the historical moment that the African American communities of America have gone through.
George Floyd’s story is the story of black people, commented the Reverend Al Sharpton during his funeral eulogy. In the last 401 years we have never been who we wanted or dreamed of being, because you only kept your knee on your neck.
[…] What happened to Floyd happens every day in this country, in the areas of education, health services, and in any area of life in America. The time has come to lift us up in George’s name and say “Take your knee off our neck.” […] We must go back to Washington and make ourselves heard – blacks, whites, Latinos, Arabs – and say “Now that’s enough”.
That the moment is different from any other phase of protest the United States has known has become evident in the coordination of national demonstrations. In addition to the Minneapolis memorial, in fact, dozens of protest marches and commemorations were held, which were attended by local authorities and senators, governors and celebrities, including the comedian Kevin Hart, the rapper Ludacris, The actors John Boyega is Tiffany Haddish.
To the power of the words of Reverend Sharpton and the slogans intoned by the protesters – We can’t breathe; Without justice there is no peace. Incriminate the police! – the evocative power of a mural created a few days ago by street artists has been added Cadex Herrera, Greta McLain is Xena Goldman, and digitally reproduced inside the sanctuary where the memorial took place.
In a few days the mural stopped being a simple street art work to become a gathering point for George Floyd’s friends and family, a symbolic place of protests and a tribute to all victims of police brutality, including Eric Garner, Philando Castile is Sandra Bland.
But while a good part of America stopped to mourn George Floyd, the streets of major U.S. cities continued to fill up with protesters. With the proliferation of protests against systemic racism, clashes with the police have also grown, protagonists of new cases of violence and abuse.
In the last few hours the hashtag #Bluefall he coagulated an enormous amount of comments and video testimonies of the police’s brutality towards the demonstrators on Twitter. Whether they were white or black, young or old, many citizens were attacked with bare hands, with batons, rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas. And he indigns that only yesterday some of those same agents had knelt to show closeness and solidarity to their fellow citizens of color.
The images and videos published on social media encourage the protests to continue, but they dismantle the easy enthusiasm and demonstrate how much more remains to be done to solve the problem of abuse of power and unjustified violence by the police.