'We can't keep living like this': Hundreds gather during memorial service for George Floyd

Philonise Floyd speaks at a memorial service for his brother, George Floyd at North Central University Thursday, June 4, 2020, in Minneapolis. Photo: AP/ Julio Cortez. Philonise Floyd speaks at a memorial service for his brother, George Floyd at North Central University Thursday, June 4, 2020, in Minneapolis.

Brandi Powell and Callan Gray
Updated: June 04, 2020 07:25 PM
Created: June 04, 2020 06:58 PM

Hundreds of people gathered inside and around the Trask Worship Center in Minneapolis Thursday to remember George Floyd and support Floyd's family.


The memorial service ended with Reverend Al Sharpton calling for everyone to stand for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, saying, "Think about what George Floyd was going through. We can't let this go. We can't keep living like this."

Rev. Sharpton announced during the memorial that he's calling for a March on Washington on Aug. 28th. On that same date in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I have a dream speech."

Sharpton, and the family's attorney, Ben Crump, called for "change" during the memorial, honoring Floyd's legacy.

"We need a broader more transformative justice ... This is a plea for justice ... What we saw in that video was inhumane ... We will seek justice in his name. We, all, united as God's children, will seek justice in his name," said Crump.

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Sharpton added, "George Floyd's story has been the story of black folks ... Get your knee off our necks." After Rev. Sharpton said this, those attending the memorial gave a standing ovation.

During the memorial service, Crump said it will take a united effort inside and outside of the courtroom to get justice for Floyd. The service was private and personal, with family describing how Floyd treated others, and their upbringing. His nephew, Brandon Williams, said "Perry," which family said was his nickname to those who were very close to him, was always there to help him out. Floyd's cousin, Shareeduh Tate, said what she'll miss most are his hugs.

"He was always welcoming. He made people feel special," Tate said. "He made sure nobody ever felt left out."

"We didn't have much growing up. My mom did what she could," said his brother, Philonise Floyd.

"He stood up for his family and friends," his brother, Rodney Floyd, added. Rodney took a deep breath and asked everyone to say his name.

While this was a private, personal memorial, many well-known people and groups were in attendance. Including state and local leaders, Martin Luther King III was in attendance, along with members of the Congressional Black Caucus. There were actors, musicians and film producers, including Tiffany Haddish, T.I., Master P, Ludacris, Kevin Hart, Will Packer and Tyrese Gibson. The mother of Eric Garner, who also told police officers "I can't breath" before his death in an encounter with police in 2014, was also in attendance.

A large crowd of people gathered outside around the Trask Worship Center.

"I hurt just like the rest of the globe is hurting right now," said Izear Joiner, who listened outside with his sons. "My heart goes out to George Floyd, his family, so yeah, very emotional, very emotional."

The service was played over a speaker for those in the intersection to hear.

Joiner said he was encouraged to see so many people come together to honor Floyd.

"I wanted to share this moment with my children, my boys," he said. "This is a time that is long overdue. It's really sad it had to take someone losing thier life the way that they did to come together like this."

Joiner said he hopes there will be changes at the state legislature, within police departments and in communities to prevent another loss of life.

"We would like to see justice," he said. "With this upcoming trial, we would like to see the officers involved punished to the fullest extent. I mean, like he said, there was plenty of time for someone to make a change and Floyd could've been here today."

PHOTOS: George Floyd memorial service in Minneapolis

Adina Harvey traveled from St. Cloud to support Floyd's family.

"It's powerful, it's our duty to take a stand for what is right," Harvey said. "I think for the first time we're all coming together saying, 'enough is enough' and that is powerful. It's not just one community, it's not just one social-economic background, it's not just one job class, you have all walks of life here and that in and of itself says a lot."

Organizers said they're bringing Floyd's body from Minnesota, to North Carolina, to Texas, which will be his final resting place, a place he called home for many years.

"Time is out for empty words and empty promises," Sharpton said. "This is the time for ... justice and change."

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