CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tuesday, May 25 marked the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who was killed after former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for over nine minutes during a police encounter.
People across the country protested for weeks, including in Charlotte. An event commemorating Floyd was held at Marshall Park at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Charlotte African American leaders spoke about where they feel the country is one year later, and what they’d like to see going forward.
“This fateful day a year ago, May 25th, to take the life of George Floyd,” Charlotte NAACP President Corine Mack said. “I will never forget it, and I don’t want anybody else to forget it.
Mack said the issue of police using excessive force against African Americans wasn’t new last year, but the horrific incident sparked a nationwide awakening.
“We have been crying this cry, at least for me, since the '60s,” Mack said. “It was an epiphany for so many white allies or white people.”
Tens of thousands of people of all races and ages hit the streets across the country like never before demanding justice and equity. Mack said the activism can’t stop there.
“We really don’t want people to believe that the Derek Chauvin trial was the end and that we won, everything’s over,” Mack said.
“People have been marching and protesting but yet I’m not convinced things have really changed that much,” said North Carolina Congresswoman Alma Adams.
Adams, who is a Democrat, said Black people have continued to lose their lives during police encounters and no major legislative action has been taken.
“I’m concerned that we still have not passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act,” Adams said.
That bill would make it easier for officers to be sued and charged with crimes but is currently held up in the Senate as lawmakers on both sides compromise on how far-reaching it will go.
“I understand that negotiations are still going, hopefully, we’ll be able to get past that," Adams said.
For now, Adams and Mack said they hope the collective push for better treatment doesn’t stop.
“Making sure that when we talk about equal justice under the law, that it means equal justice for people who are Black and brown,” Adams said.
More than just wanting to see police accountability, Adams also said she wants to see better relations between police and minority communities.