George Floyd’s brother was in downtown Burlington Friday. Philonise Floyd spoke at the Flynn, discussing the impact his brother’s death has had on race relations.
“Sometimes you wake up and you just wonder, is the world gonna understand?” Philonise Floyd said. “Because after losing George, you didn’t think after the way we lost George that we would still be having these problems.”
Friday night, Floyd headlined a panel of diversity speakers at the Flynn theater and will took questions from Vermont middle and high school students.
“If they see change, they will believe change,” Floyd said “And a place like Vermont is perfect for it because the percentage of black people is so low.”
He also spent time with Mayor Miro Weinberger discussing race challenges in the Green Mountain State. The Greater Burlington Multicultural Resource center invited Philonise to Vermont.
“Adding a voice from the national conversation,” Dr. Patrick Brown, executive director said. “George Floyd was significant in moving the dial ahead, or so we think in moving ahead the dialogue on race relations.”
Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes in may 2020. Chauvin was found guilty on all counts earlier this spring.
“I have to relive it everyday and think about my brother as a modern lynch-man,” Floyd said. “I will never be able to get my brother back again.”
Mr. Floyd says this isn’t just about George’s legacy but also expanding action on mental health and police reform.
“By inviting me here it shows you are open to change and you have hope,” he said. “Once you give up hope everything else is deceased after that.”
Floyd’s visit comes one day after a handful of jurors who sat on the case spoke out for the first time.