Protesters will take to the streets across the US again, a day after the funeral of George Floyd, whose death in police custody has ignited the biggest surge of anti-racism activism since the civil rights era of the 1960s.
George Floyd is now the cornerstone of a movement that is going to change the whole wide world, veteran civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton told mourners at the funeral in Houston on Tuesday.
Anti-racism protesters over the death of Floyd will take to the streets across the United States again on Wednesday.
Hundreds of protesters in the West coast city of Seattle filled City Hall into early Wednesday calling for the mayor to resign and for police reforms.
More protests were expected from Atlanta to New York City and Los Angeles in what will be the 16th straight day of demonstrations.
“George Floyd isn’t a ‘wake-up call.’ The same alarm has been ringing since 1619. Y’all just keep hitting snooze.”#BlakeLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/NrXcSvGYMn— Leslie Salzillo (@lovecomesaround) June 9, 2020
Brother testifies on Capitol Hill
In Washington, one of Floyd's brothers spoke to a Democratic-led congressional panel on Wednesday as lawmakers took on the twin issues of police violence and racial injustice.
Philonise Floyd, a brother of George Floyd, says he's testifying to Congress because he wants his brother's death to be "more than another name” on a growing list of those killed during interactions with police.
Floyd's appearance before a House hearing comes a day after funeral services for his brother George Floyd, who has become a worldwide symbol in demonstrations over calls for changes to police practices and an end to racial prejudices.
“If his death ends up changing the world for the better. And I think it will. I think it has. Then he died as he lived,” Philonise Floyd said.
“I’m tired. I’m tired of the pain I’m feeling now and I’m tired of the pain I feel every time another black person is killed for no reason," Floyd said.
"I’m here today to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired.”
Floyd said, "The people marching in the streets are telling you enough is enough. Be the leaders that this country, this world, needs. Do the right thing.”
Family to lead Washington march
Sharpton said the Floyd family would lead a march on Washington on August 28 to mark the 57th anniversary of the 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech given from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial by civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, who was assassinated in 1968.
Floyd, 46, died after a police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while he was held face down in a street in Minneapolis on May 25.
His death unleashed a surge of protests across US cities against racism and the systematic mistreatment of black people.
It has also inspired anti-racism protests in several countries in Europe.
In Britain, with its own conflicted legacy of empire, statues of historical figures linked to the slave trade have been toppled or taken down.
Though mostly peaceful, the US protests have been marred by arson, looting and clashes with police, whose often heavy-handed tactics have fueled the rage.
The furor has also thrust President Donald Trump into a political crisis as he bids for re-election in November. Trump has threatened tough action to restore order but has struggled to unite the nation while failing to address the issue of racial inequality.
The fence outside the White House has been converted to a crowd-sourced memorial wall — almost like an art gallery — to black men and women who lost their lives at the hands of police.— Eric (@Erictrum) June 9, 2020
Hundreds are strolling, looking, adding names and paintings and posters.#BlakeLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/15NE1UpSKc
Grief and outrage
During a four-hour service broadcast live from a church in Floyd's boyhood home of Houston, relatives, clergy, and politicians exhorted Americans to turn grief and outrage at his death into a moment of reckoning for the country.
Some 2,500 people attended the funeral after more than 6,000 people had filed past Floyd's open casket on Monday.
Two columns of Houston police officers saluted the golden casket as it was wheeled from the hearse into the church before the service. A horse-drawn carriage later bore the coffin on its last mile to the cemetery in Pearland, Texas, where Floyd was buried in a private ceremony.
Among those attending were relatives of several other black men killed by white police or white civilians, including the family of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Georgia man who was shot and killed in February while jogging. Three white men were charged in his death.
You have changed us forever. Rest in paradise, King. We got this. #BlakeLivesMatter #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/lWsyvlOQ4J— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) June 9, 2020
'An ordinary brother'
Sharpton called Floyd "an ordinary brother" who grew up in a housing project but left behind a legacy of greatness despite rejections in jobs and sports that prevented him from achieving all that he once aspired to become.
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, has been charged with second-degree murder and three other officers with aiding and abetting Floyd's death. All were dismissed from the department a day after the incident.
Video footage shot by a bystander showed Floyd handcuffed and lying face down on the street while an officer kneels into the back of his neck. Floyd gasps for air as he cries out, "Mama," and groans "Please, I can't breathe," before falling silent and still.
His dying words have become a rallying cry for protesters.
Calls have also been made for "defunding" police departments or redirecting money spent on law enforcement to community programs.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was among politicians embracing police reforms.
"We need to root out systemic racism across our laws and institutions, and we need to make sure black Americans have a real shot to get ahead." Biden wrote in an opinion piece in USA Today on Wednesday
He said that while he did not support defunding, "I do not believe federal dollars should go to police departments that are violating people’s rights or turning to violence as the first resort."