A year ago, the entire country saw the gut-wrenching visuals of a police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd and ultimately causing his death. To honor the solemn anniversary, President Joe Biden will be hosting Floyd’s family at the White House on Tuesday, May 25.
Initially, Biden had set aside the first death anniversary as the deadline for lawmakers to pass a police reform bill named after Floyd. However, Congress will most likely miss this deadline to pass legislation for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
Floyd’s death anniversary comes weeks after former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter in connection with the incident. After the guilty verdict was out, the president released a statement that said: “Today, a jury in Minnesota found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd… It was a murder in the full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism the Vice President just referred to—the systemic racism that is a stain our nation’s soul; the knee on the neck of justice for Black Americans; the profound fear and trauma, the pain, the exhaustion that Black and brown Americans experience every single day.”
Since Floyd’s shocking death, Biden has spoken to his family on different occasions over the past year. The president even had a conversation with the family after the verdict was given in April 2021. “I also just spoke with George Floyd’s family again—a remarkable family of extraordinary courage,” the president said. “Nothing can ever bring their brother, their father back. But this can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America.”
He added in his statement, “In my conversations with the Floyd family… I assured them that we’re going to continue to fight for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act so we can—I can sign it into law as quickly as possible. And there’s more to do.” While the verdict is a step forward in bringing about change, the president added that it wasn’t enough for real reform to take place. It requires acknowledging and confronting “systemic racism and the racial disparities that exist in policing and in our criminal justice system more broadly,” Biden added.
Following the verdict, the president also said he had a conversation with Floyd’s daughter, Gianna, about her father’s legacy. “When I met her last year… at George’s funeral, I told her how brave I thought she was. And I, sort of, knelt down to hold her hand. I said, ‘Daddy’s looking down on you. He’s so proud.’ She said to me then—I’ll never forget it—’Daddy changed the world.’ Well, I told her this afternoon, ‘Daddy did change the world.’ Let that be his legacy: a legacy of peace, not violence—of justice.”