It was their last opportunity to say goodbye to him: hundreds of residents of Houston, including the “Third Ward”, the neighborhood where he grew up, braved Monday, the sun and the heat to pay tribute to George Floyd, in sadness and contemplation.
“I thank you all for coming to see my brother “, has launched Philonise Floyd in the afternoon to address the crowd. “This makes it very hard to be here, it is hard and painful,” he added, in tears.
A long queue had started to form in the morning in front of the church the Fountain of Praise, in the south of the metropolis of texas, where was held the ceremony of homage to the black man of 46 years whose death, on 25 may under the knee of a white policeman has provoked a wave of anger and protests anti-racist.
Some in the crowd wore t-shirts bearing the effigy of George Floyd or crossed out the phrase “I can’t breathe”, he uttered in his agony; others have lifted the fist arriving in front of the coffin in which rests his mortal remains.
Pandemic is forcing, the mask-wearing was made compulsory in the church, and the visitors could not remain static: they only had a few seconds to gather before the coffin before leaving their place.
Joseph Qualls attended the same high school that George Floyd in the “Third Ward”. For him, his death is all the more painful that he admired.
“It was the first person that I knew in my neighborhood to get a university scholarship,” says the hairdresser of 38 years.
Kelvin Sherrod, 41, was obliged to come with his wife and two boys of 8 and 9 years old. The whole family was wearing a black t-shirt with the inscription “I can’t breathe“.
The death of George Floyd has affected his children, ” he says. “They have said to me: “what happened, what they have done to the sir?””
It was therefore important for me to be here with them,” said the inhabitant of Houston. “It is a special moment in history, and they will remember that they have made it party”.
In the midst of this mourning, Kelvin Sherrod said, despite everything, happy that so many people are coming. “This brings us together as a country, regardless of your skin color”.
“There is a problem “
In the midst of this mourning, Kelvin Sherrod said, despite everything, happy that so many people are coming. “This brings us together as a country, regardless of your skin color “.
Candice, also came to pay tribute to George Floyd before his funeral on Tuesday, was pleased also to see “the country together” in a protest movement. “It is time that things change, and we must overcome the oppression, police violence and racism,” she said.
In the crowd, mostly black, of white Americans hold to pass on a message of solidarity and unity.
Sarah Frazzell, 33 years old, came with five of her friends and bouquets of flowers “to support the family of George Floyd and the black community”. The importance of the crowd “shows America that there is a problem,” she said.
The death of George Floyd is the latest of a long series in recent years of the death of black men, for the most part unarmed, killed by police officers.
“They did it again, they have taken another life,” said his mother, Gwen Carr, invited by the family of Floyd for the funeral.
“This is why justice must be done,” she added, saying that the “black sheep” had to be taken out of the ranks of the american police.
For Kelvin Sherrod, the attitude of the police in the face of the black minority must change completely.
“We don’t know who we can trust,” he said. If the good police officers do not face the bad, then we can’t trust anyone”.
The chief of police of Houston, Art Acevedo, who came to meet the family of George Floyd, admits that there are “a lot of work to do” to put an end to the mutual distrust.
Far from the madding crowd, sitting on a camping chair, umbrella in hand to protect against the sun, Zachary Daniels doubt, however, a rapid change of mentalities.
“The question is whether this will continue, or if we will come back here to pay tribute to another living black”, is he asks.