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B-N NAACP Centers Youth Voices During George Floyd Remembrance Event

Linda Foster
Emily Bollinger
Bloomington-Normal NAACP branch leader Linda Foster speaks at the George Floyd mural in west Bloomington in 2020.

The Bloomington-Normal branch of the NAACP hosted a virtual remembrance event Tuesday to mark the anniversary of George Floyd’s death at the hands of the police.

While the Zoom meeting showed around 30 participants, several families were gathered together, making the actual number of attendees much higher.

Bloomington-Normal NAACP President Linda Foster gave opening remarks.

“It has been a long year, it has been a painful year,” she said, “but we are still in this.”

Foster expressed remembrance of Floyd, saying his death will “forever be embedded in our minds and in the history of our country.”

“Today is a day of remembrance that there is much work to do,” Foster said. “A change needs to come so that we do not have to witness anything like that by those who are hired to serve and protect. If we all come together, we can make Mr. Floyd’s death not be in vain.”

“Until every human being is treated with dignity and respect, the NAACP vows to remain on the battlefield for justice and equality for all."
Carla Campbell-Jackson

Foster also stressed the importance young people being involved in this change, referring to them as the ones “who will make tomorrow a better day.” The chapter has made the elevation of youth voices one of its continued goals, establishing a youth council last December.

Two members of the council, Myles Manns and Bradley Ross Jackson, spoke at Tuesday's event.

Manns suggested three ways the Twin City community can change and move toward better policing and equality. He suggested that more Black officers be hired, that officers are better trained to treat all people with respect and that officers interact with the community in more positive ways.

“(Floyd) had a good life, but we need to do more to make sure this never happens again,” Manns said.

Jackson posed the question to all of the Bloomington-Normal community: “Have you done your part?” As one of the most active young people in the NAACP chapter, he stressed the importance of people coming together for the cause.

“Since the George Floyd incident occurred, we have received some forms of justice, but that is simply the tip of the iceberg,” Jackson said. “With that being said, we still have a long way to go. We must remain focused on our mission for justice and equality.”

Vice President of the NAACP chapter, Dr. Carla Campbell Jackson, agreed.

“Until every human being is treated with dignity and respect, the NAACP vows to remain on the battlefield for justice and equality for all,” she said.

The group then recognized a moment of silence followed by a 9 minute, 29 second prayer led by Pastor David Brown of Hope Baptist Church that represented the amount of time former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck. Additionally, the 8:30 p.m. event start time represented when Floyd died.

“God, we thank you for the justice you have brought on the men that took (Floyd) from us, the evil and tragic men...and tonight we remember one year ago from today, this tragic moment that affected the whole world,” Brown said.

Last month, Chauvin was convicted of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd. Chauvin’s sentence is expected to range from 12 1/2 to 40 years in prison. Earlier this month, a judge ruled there were aggravating factors in the murder that could open the door for the prosecution to seek a longer sentence.

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Samira Kassem is a WGLT correspondent. She joined the station in 2021 after graduating from Illinois Wesleyan University, where she was editor in chief of The Argus.
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