The death of George Floyd sparks protest around the country


Photo by Sophia Novelo

Story by Marlene Calderon, Co-Editor in Chief

  On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was suspected of counterfeiting a $20 bill in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was killed after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. After a video surfaced of Floyd handcuffed on the floor, repeatedly stating “I can’t breathe” before dying due to Chauvin’s knee pressed against his neck, outrage against police brutality spread across the U.S. and overseas.

    “News about Floyd’s murder came right after the social media uproar about Ahmaud Arbery’s tragic murdeer and I just kept thinking to myself ‘Already? Again?’ It is so shocking yet unsurprising how this happens again and again and again, time after time. And I recognize that it does not even directly affect me. I can not imagine how black people feel right now, and I want to help as much as I can,” Talia Manzanares (12) said.  

   Protests began on May 26 in Minneapolis following the killing of George Floyd and spread to all 50 states and several countries including France, Brazil, and Australia. Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement called for justice for Floyd and expressed frustration after Derek Chauvin and the three officers with him during Floyd’s death had yet to be charged. 

   The Black Lives Matter movement and protests have kept momentum and supporters continue to demand justice for black lives lost. Many continue to advocate for Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was killed in her sleep by Louisville police who burst into her apartment and shot her at least eight times when using a “no-knock” warrant to enter her home during a drug investigation,and Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was jogging and killed after a white man and his adult son shot him.

   “I feel that the attention the Black Lives Matter Movement is receiving right now is so necessary. But sometimes it feels performative because so many people don’t know about other cases besides George Floyd. Breonna Taylor was murdered  in her own home by three police officers in March. They still have not been charged for her murder and it is disgusting. I really hope we get justice for her and her family,” Alana Winn (9) said.

     The nationwide protests have stirred controversy because of the looting that has occurred and the many videos shared on social media that show police officers violently disrupting peaceful protestors. Since the murder of George Floyd and the start of the protests, social media has become a platform where everyone, no matter how big their audience, can call for change. A plethora of petitions, GoFundMe’s, and resources supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and victims of police brutality are constantly being shared and have garnered millions of signatures and millions of dollars. 

    “Social media has been crucial in mobilizing public opinion and action by providing instant information about protests, locations, petitions, donations, and first-hand accounts of police brutality and systemic racism that has been plaguing America’s black and colored communities since the beginning. Without social media, the Black Lives Matter movement most likely would have not gained the traction it has today or spread awareness to those who do not actively seek information on the movement,” Nehemiah Boscia (12) said.

   The death of George Floyd reaffirmed that innocent black people are being killed by the police and law enforcement fails to recognize that black lives matter. As of June 3, 2020, all four officers involved in George Floyd’s death are facing criminal charges and Derek Chauvin’s charge has been raised from third-degree to second-degree murder.