George Floyd's brother came to Capitol Hill to speak truth to power about systemic racism and inflict some well-deserved shame on their heads.
June 10, 2020

Philonise Floyd, George Floyd's brother, appeared on Capitol Hill today in the hopes that his testimony might increase support for a sweeping bill filled with national reforms for police standards. His powerful account in front of the House Judiciary Committee of suddenly becoming the big brother of the family, of having to be in the position of comforter, of being robbed of the chance to say goodbye to his hero, would move anyone to tears, as it did him.

He asked for the legislators sitting in front of him to make the pain stop. He reminded them they were elected make lives better. He challenged them to answer the shameful question, "Is that what a black man is worth? Twenty dollars?"

The full transcript is below.

MR. FLOYD: Thank you for the invitation to be here today to talk about my big brother, George. The world knows him as George, but I called him Perry. Yesterday, we laid him to rest. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I’m the big brother now. So it’s my job to comfort my brothers and sisters, Perry’s kids, and everyone who loved him. And that’s a lot of people. I have to be the strong one now, because George is gone.

And me being the big brother now is why I’m here today. To do what Perry always would have done — to take care of the family and others. I couldn’t take care of George that day he was killed, but maybe by speaking with you today, I can make sure that his death would not be in vain. To make sure that he is more than another face on a T-shirt. More than another name on a list that won’t stop growing.

George always made sacrifices for our family. And he made sacrifices for complete strangers. He gave the little that he had to help others. He was our gentle giant. I was reminded of that when I watched the video of his murder. He called all of the officers ‘sir.’ He was mild mannered; he didn’t fight back. He listened to all the officers. The men who took his life, who suffocated him for eight minutes and 46 seconds –- he still called them ‘sir’ as he begged for his life.

I can’t tell you the kind of pain you feel when you watch something like that. When you watch your big brother, who you’ve looked up to your whole entire life, die? Die begging for his mom?

I’m tired! I’m tired of pain, the pain you feel when you watch something like that. When you watch your big brother, who you’ve looked up to for your whole life, die? Die begging for his mom? I’m here today to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired.

George called for help and he was ignored. Please listen to the calls I’m making to you now. To the calls of our family and the calls ringing out in the streets across the world. People of all backgrounds, genders and races have come together to demand change. Honor them, honor George, and make the necessary changes that make law enforcement the solution -– and not the problem. Hold them accountable when they do something wrong. Teach them what it means to treat people with empathy and respect. Teach them what necessary force is. Teach them that deadly force should be used rarely and only when life is at risk.

George wasn’t hurting anyone that day. He didn’t deserve to die over twenty dollars. I am asking you, is that what a black man is worth? Twenty dollars? This is 2020. Enough is enough. The people marching in the streets are telling you enough is enough. By the leaders — that our country, the world needs the right thing.

The people elected you to speak for them, to make positive change. George’s name means something. You have the opportunity here today to make your names mean something, too.

If his death ends up changing the world for the better, and I think it will, then he died as he lived. It is on you to make sure his death is not in vain. I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to Perry while he was here. I was robbed of that.

But I know he’s looking down on us now. Perry, look up at what you did, big brother. You changed the world. Thank you for everything. For taking care of us when on Earth, for taking care of us now. I hope you found mama and you can rest in peace with power. Thank you.

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