Canarsie vigil honors George Floyd on his 47th birthday

george floyd
Attorney Sanford Rubinstein (left) and Rev. Kevin McCall (right) joined Terrence Floyd for the Oct. 14 memorial.
Photo by Todd Maisel

Terrence Floyd and civil rights leaders held a memorial in Canarsie on Oct. 14 to honor the life of George Floyd, who would have turned 47 on Wednesday if he hadn’t been killed by a Minneapolis police officer in May.

“A lot of people ask me, ‘How you doing?’ I tell them I’m maintaining, but I’m not okay,” said Terrence Floyd, George Floyd’s brother and a Brooklyn resident. “I’ll be okay when accountability will happen, when all these — not all police officers, but these cowards who are doing stupidness to our people and getting away with it — [are held accountable].” 

Floyd died of asphyxiation after Officer Derek Chauvin put his knees on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes after Floyd tried to use a counterfeit bill at a Minneapolis store, touching off weeks of protests and riots across the country.

Following his death, a Canarsie artist painted a massive mural in Floyd’s honor on E. 80th Street and Flatlands Avenue, almost adjacent to his mural for the later Canarsie rapper Pop Smoke. Altidor, who has painted several nearby murals, said he felt pay tribute to Floyd after his tragic death.

“This makes me feel good,” Altidor said. “[It was] something I definitely had to do, just like I’ve done for fallen police and firefighters in the area.”

Altidor previously completed a mural of George Floyd, which is located next to the mural of Pop Smoke.Photo by Todd Maisel

During the vigil, civil rights attorney Sanford Rubenstein said attendees should use George Floyd’s birthday to reflect on what has been done to prevent other tragic deaths at the hands of police.

“On the first birthday after his wrongful death, we intend to use each birthday as a day to see what’s been accomplished to end police brutality and the abilities of police officers to put up their blue walls of silence to prevent them from going to jail when someone’s been killed by them,” Rubenstein said

Chauvin was recently released on $1 million bail with conditions that allow him to leave the state of Minnesota.

Another name invoked during the vigil was Breonna Taylor, who was killed when Louisville police officers entered her apartment as part of a drug investigation and shot her. One of the officers was fired from the force but never charged in connection to Taylor’s death, only for firing the shots inappropriately.

Other speakers at the vigil included Reverend Kevin McCall, Anthony Beckford from the Brooklyn chapter of Black Lives Matter, and members of the Haitian Nurses Network.

This article first appeared on AMNY.com.