George Floyd’s family and friends have finally put his body to rest at a funeral that honoured his life as a father, brother and athlete.
On Tuesday, some 500 mourners gathered at the Fountain of Praise Church in Houston, Texas after the 47-year-old’s body was returned to his hometown so that he could be laid to rest next to his mother.
The funeral came two weeks after Floyd’s death in Minnesota at the hands of a police officer, who knelt on his neck despite the victim saying that he was unable to breathe. The four police officers involved in the incident have been sacked and charged over his death.
Since his passing, millions of people have watched video footage of Floyd’s death and taken to the streets and social media to protest against racial inequality and also against institutional racism and police brutality.
Among the attendees at the funeral were actors Jamie Foxx, Channing Tatum, and the families of the late Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Botham Jean and Ahmaud Arbery. The families were given a standing ovation by mourners.
'Lives like George will not matter until somebody pays the cost for taking their lives this was not just a tragedy. It was a crime,’ Reverend Al Sharpton said after paying tribute to the victims' families.
During the funeral, singer Ne-Yo thanked Floyd for the ‘sacrifice’ he made and changing the world 'for the better'.
'I just want to personally thank George Floyd for the sacrifice so that my kids can be alright later on. I appreciate the sacrifice, my brother, I genuinely do,' he added.
The 40-year-old went on to sing a powerful rendition of Boyz II Men’s ‘It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday’ but was forced to momentarily pause mid-song to compose his emotions.
Floyd’s niece, Brooke Williams, also delivered a moving tribute to her uncle, who she described as ‘spiritually grounded, an activist’.
‘My name is Brooke Williams, George Floyd’s niece, and I can breathe,’ she began. ‘[As] long as I’m breathing, justice will be served.’
Outside the church, crowds gathered to pay their respects for Floyd, wearing shirts reading ‘I can’t breathe’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden addressed the service in a video message, adding: ‘When there is justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America.’
Anti-racism protests have now entered their third week since Floyd’s death with recent developments including the removal of statues of slave traders, royals and politicians associated with colonialism and the slave trade.
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