May 26, 2021

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Commemorates the Anniversary of George Floyd’s Death at NAACP Event in Oakland

Oakland, CA – Today Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) commemorated the 1-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death at an event hosted by the NAACP Oakland Branch at Youth Uprising in East Oakland.

The event featured poetry and dance performances by Oakland youth, and other speakers including California Attorney General Rob Bonta, Mayor Libby Schaaf, and Oakland NAACP President George Holland, Sr. The attendees also observed eight minutes of silence – the amount of time that a police officer knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck one year ago.

The text of Congresswoman Lee’s speech is below:

It has been one year since George Floyd’s life was taken from him by our broken and racist criminal justice system in America. He was murdered at the hands of police. His calls for help ignored by those who swear to protect and serve. Since that fateful day, hundreds of thousands of people demanding justice like all of you, took to the street to fight for systemic change in his honor, and the world began to pay attention.

Black and Brown communities are tired of living in fear, of living under oppression. We should not have to fear those who have taken an oath to protect and serve everyone. We cannot have a system of policing in which some communities feel safe and others feel targeted. Black and Brown communities cannot, and should not, continuously endure this trauma. 

The public health and economic crisis of the last year has illustrated the presence of systemic racism and structural inequality in America even more clearly. There is much work to be done to root out the systems that keep Black and Brown communities fighting for their lives. But we are on our way. 

Our fight for justice will carry on in Mr. Floyd’s honor, and it will not stop until all Black lives matter.

The conviction of George Floyd’s murder does not mean we have fixed the system. The Senate must pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act immediately and send it to the President’s desk for a signature. Creating a national standard of accountability, ending qualified immunity, improving police training. These are modest steps, and this is just the beginning! We must get this done.

As we commemorate a year since Mr. Floyd’s death, as well as so many others, we all must recommit ourselves to demanding systemic change for a more equitable justice system. The doors to accountability have been cracked open, but until we realize a world in which Mr. Floyd and so many others were never killed in the first place, our fight must continue.

To quote brother Malcolm X: “Anytime you beg another person to set you free, you will never be free. Freedom is something that you have to do for yourselves.”

We are here to do just that – to demand justice, to demand respect, and demand that Black Lives Matter. 

Thank you all for being here, and let’s keep demanding justice. 

You can also watch the speech here.