George Floyd's Brother, Terrence, at Prayer Vigil: "Let's Do This Another Way"

On Monday afternoon George Floyd’s brother, Terrence, led a prayer vigil in Minneapolis at the site where his brother died one week ago. The crowd was silent as Terrence knelt in the street, a poignant, powerful moment.

As he’s stated in earlier public comments (covered by my colleague Brandon Morse here), Floyd stressed that when protests turn into violence and looting they’re not honoring his brother and only further hurt a community already in emotional and economic distress. His comments at the prayer vigil went a little further and are worth highlighting. Holding a bullhorn and addressing the crowd, he said:

“I understand you’re all upset. But like it was already said, I doubt y’all are half as upset as I am.

“So if I’m not over here wilding out, if I’m not over here blowing up stuff, if I’m not over here messing up my community, then what are y’all doing? What are y’all doing? You’re doing nothing, because that’s not gonna bring my brother back at all. It may feel good for the moment, just like when you drink, but when you come down, you’re gonna wonder what you did.

“My family is a peaceful family. My family is God-fearing. Yeah, we are upset. But we’re not gonna take it – we’re not gonna be repetitious. In every case of police brutality the same thing has been happening. Y’all protest, y’all destroy stuff, and things don’t move.

“So let’s do this another way. Let’s stop thinking that our voice don’t matter, and vote. Not just vote for the president. Vote for the preliminaries. Vote for everybody. Educate yourself. Educate yourself. Don’t wait for somebody else to tell you who’s who. Educate yourself and know who you’re voting for. And that’s how we’re gonna hit ’em, because it’s a lot of us…and we’re still gonna do this peacefully.”

His comments about the aftermath of rage reminded me of comments a man in Los Angeles made in an interview during Saturday’s rioting. Reporter Christine Devine of Fox’s Los Angeles affiliate was interviewing people on the street in the Fairfax district as rioting was going on around them. Her interview with a 28-year-old man was one of the most honest interviews I’ve ever seen, and surprisingly intimate given the atmosphere. The man was hesitant at first, but I think the interview took the direction it did because of her initial question: “What’s going through your heart right now?”

You know, right now I feel a lot of depression, actually. That’s been going through my mind.

Devine then asks him, Why is that?

Just because it’s like, honestly, to keep watching black people get killed consistently. And it’s just like – and I understand everyone being angry, but at the same point it’s just like every time we march and protest it seems like we lose focus on what we’re doing.

I really wish we had better ways of expressing ourselves, but sometimes anger is the way we go to most frequently….

I can see it so many times…to where it’s just like, what – at the end of the day what’s getting accomplished. One of my friends said, you know, if you want to protest, protest outside a politician’s house. Like, imagine that. That would probably be better, honestly.

What do you think it comes down to? What do we have to do to make this get better?

Be human. You know, like actually think about another person as a human being. Have empathy.

Wise words. Think about another person as a human being. Have empathy. May we all remember those words as we attempt to rebuild our communities this week.

 

 

The entire exchange can be seen here (apologies for the low production quality video – I had to stand in front of my TV and record on my phone):