Why I attended the trial of George Floyd’s killer

Yesterday, I joined Reverend Al Sharpton, former Governor David Paterson, and Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, in Minneapolis, on behalf of all New Yorkers, to support George Floyd’s family as his killer stands trial.

Reverend Al Sharpton, Philonise Floyd, Gwen Carr, and Ray McGuire

We came to witness the American judicial system. To experience how the system deals with incontrovertible evidence of murder. Nine minutes, 29 seconds of cold-blooded murder.

So we came to say that George Floyd’s death cannot be another grave marker at which we pause to grieve.

George’s death must be a turning point. It must be a turning point at which we move into a modern era of justice for all.

George Floyd and his family deserve justice.

They deserve justice not just for the crime committed against George, but for the peaceful and righteous way they have mourned him.

They are an inspiration to all of us.

They inspire us in the same way Mother Gwen Carr inspires us. Mother Carr’s son Eric Garner’s dying words — “I can’t breathe” — were uttered nearly seven years ago. Those words have become hallowed — an American psalm — lodged deep in our souls.

The family of George Floyd and Mother Carr inspire us in the same way Mamie Till Mobley inspired us some 65 years ago.

When they finally retrieved the body of her son Emmett Till after three days on the side of the Tallahatchie River, Mother Till Mobley insisted on an open-casket funeral. She wanted America to see what had been done to her child. Mother Mobley’s unbearable act of courage changed the course of American history.

So we stand with the family of George Floyd, with Mother Carr, with Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton; with Michael Brown’s mother Lezley McSpadden; with Sandra Bland’s mother Geneva Reed-Veal.

There must be no greater pain in the world than the pain of a mother who loses a child. If there is ever a moment in time where America must stand with you, it is now.

We are here to commit that George Floyd will join the pantheon of unjustly slain American heroes like Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others. So many others. Their deaths inspire us to seek the best of ourselves.

That pantheon includes Emmett Till. Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Sandra Bland. Eric Garner. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. So many others.

Their names and the depth of their losses must be a part of the soul of America’s story. We must come together to celebrate the justice that protects us all.

And let us pray that in this season of Grace, Gratitude and Resurrection that George Floyd’s death be celebrated up in the victory, and that America move a bit closer to salvation and true justice.

Thank you, and may God Bless the family of Brother George Floyd.