The first of three memorial gatherings for George Floyd is a service underway in Minneapolis, kicking off a series of events to mourn the man whose death empowered a national movement to call for change in policing methods and a national dialogue on race.
Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader, will eulogize Floyd, and family attorney Ben Crump will also speak at Thursday’s tribute. The event will take place at North Central University in Minneapolis.
Floyd, 46, died May 25 in police custody. Demonstrations in cities across the U.S. to condemn racism and police abuses remained large, but have generally been marked by fewer violent incidents the past two nights than those that took place on the weekend and Monday night.
Sharpton spoke to reporters early Thursday in Minneapolis, describing it as a “moment of change in America.” While answering a question from a Radio-Canada reporter, Sharpton made reference to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s long pause earlier this week in response to a question about the U.S. protests.
“It’s a new day … I’m going to express that in my eulogy, and since you’re from Canada, I won’t have a 21-second gap before I say what I have to say,” Sharpton said.
Organizers of a Minneapolis memorial for George Floyd placed floral arrangements around a golden casket Thursday, as families, friends and celebrities prepared to pay their respects to the man whose death sparked mass protests and calls for an end to racial injustice.
A black hearse was parked outside the Frank J. Lindquist sanctuary at North Central University hours before the memorial was to begin in Minneapolis — the first service to be held in the next six days across three communities where Floyd was born, grew up and died.