‘We are going to be the voice’: Gathering honors George Floyd’s life, launches memorial foundation in his name

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It was an emotional gathering Sunday in downtown Minneapolis.

The families of George Floyd, Philando Castile and Jamar Clark all came together to commemorate Floyd’s life.

“Since George is no longer with us, we are going to be the voice,” his sister Bridgett said. “We are going to be the change, and we are going to continue his legacy."

A street next to the Salvation Army Harbor Light Worship and Service Center was converted into the launch location for the George Floyd Memorial Foundation.

Before his death in police custody, Floyd would attend the Salvation Army’s annual homelessness event.

He also worked security at the Harbor Light facility — patrolling the alleys, making sure people there were safe and getting fed.

“He was part of the security team for a while,” recalls Maj. Scott Shelbourn, the Salvation Army’s Divisional Secretary. “He had an affinity for the folks who are program participants, folks who come into the Harbor Light.”

The occasion marked the foundation’s very first donation as a nonprofit to the Harbor Center: a $5,000 check.

During an extensive program, there were emotional tributes to Floyd, Castile and Clark, who were each killed by police.

Read KSTP’s full George Floyd coverage

"We must now bend the arc, the moral arc, to moral justice,” said Bishop Richard D. Howell from Shiloh Temple International Ministries. “The time has come for us to have hope that these three young men did not die in vain but that there will be a reason ahead of us, that one day will not always be like this.”

The Floyd, Castile and Clark families each received awards from the anti-gun violence and homeless advocacy group Minnesota Acts Now.

“We are here to fight homelessness but also to call attention to a sickness that has imbued the national fabric of this country, and that is racism,” said Bishop Harding Smith, from the Spiritual Church of God. “If we do not address that, we will all perish.

Amid the commemoration of three lives, there were calls for social justice.

“I know systematic racism is not just a problem in Minnesota, it’s a problem in America,” said Ben Crump, the Floyd family’s attorney. “But so tragically, George Floyd’s death illuminated the issues that are present here in Minneapolis. When we get a conviction for George Floyd’s murder, that will be a conviction also for Philando Castile and Jamar Clark.”

Bridgett Floyd says the foundation will be her brother’s legacy and a way to keep his spirit alive.

"I plan to do a lot of police reform, police brutality, uplift a lot of people to come in and be able to have careers,” she said. “George just had a big heart, period. You could be homeless, you could be pink, you could be blue. He loved people. He loved helping people, that was his passion.”