President Biden held a private audience in the White House on Tuesday with the family of George Floyd. A year ago, Floyd, a Black man, was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, whom a bystander filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. The footage went viral and sparked weeks of outrage and protests in the United States against police brutality and systemic racism. It also kindled a reckoning over the nation’s dark past. Corporate executives, Hollywood celebrities and prominent politicians spoke out in support of protesters around the country. Confederate statues were hoisted off their pedestals. “Black Lives Matter” was emblazoned in front of the White House by city authorities.
In a statement after his meeting with the Floyd family, Biden urged lawmakers in Congress to push through criminal justice and police reform legislation in Floyd’s name, a month after Chauvin was convicted of his murder. The president noted how Floyd, in the words of his daughter Gianna, “changed the world” and opened a new chapter in the “battle for the soul” of the country: “His murder launched a summer of protest we hadn’t seen since the Civil Rights era in the ’60s — protests that peacefully unified people of every race and generation to collectively say enough of the senseless killings,” Biden said.