George Floyd memorial 'closure' for many people

Thousands of mourners gathered for a final public memorial to George Floyd in his hometown of Hou...

08.32 9 Jun 2020

Share this article

George Floyd memorial 'closure...

George Floyd memorial 'closure' for many people


08.32 9 Jun 2020

Share this article

Thousands of mourners gathered for a final public memorial to George Floyd in his hometown of Houston, Texas on Monday.

His family are holding a private funeral service on Tuesday.

Matt Harab is reporter with Houston Public Media and NPR news in the US.


He was at the memorial service and told Newstalk Breakfast:" Yesterday just felt like closure for these mourners - you had a public viewing, thousands of people showed up.

"Many of whom, if not all, had been protesting the last week in downtown Houston".

"How it felt? I'm not sure if you've ever been dumped before by a girl, but sometimes you just need some kind of closure to mentally reset and move forward from a horrible incident."

"That's what it felt like: not nearly as much anger and frustration as there had been in the previous weeks.

"You had thousands of people line up outside the church on a hot Houston day".

George Floyd Mourners wait to visit the casket of George Floyd during a public visitation at The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas. Picture by: Godofredo A. Vásquez/AP/Press Association Images

"And it was an open casket; I had one guy tell me as he came out of the church, talking about how he felt that George Floyd could very well have been him.

"An older woman standing in line told me that she felt like she was seeing her son get held down to the ground.

"So you just had a lot of people yesterday who I talked to who identified with George Floyd and identified with the situation because unfortunately it's one that we've seen all too often in this country".

"You're told in America growing up that it's the greatest country in the world - and one of the reasons it's the greatest country in the world is because of freedom and equality.

"These protesters don't feel that equality, that's probably what I go the most out of this past week.

"They don't feel a white person under arrest will be treated the same as a black person under arrest - and quite frankly, the protesters have evidence to support that.

"I feel like we have two major issues in the United States that just continue to cycle.

"The first is mass shootings in school and the second is black people getting killed by white police officers instead of being taken into custody".

George Floyd memorial 'closure' for many people

00:00:00 / 00:00:00


Thousands queued in the heat and humidity of Houston to pay their respects at the final public memorial. In groups of 500, they filed past his open gold-coloured coffin.

"Change has come," said Jesse Holmes. What Martin Luther King had long sought, he said, George Floyd had delivered.

"The world will never be the same. We're thankful. He sacrificed for the world."

At the same time, US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was meeting Mr Floyd's family.

His compassion, the family's lawyer said, "meant the world to them".

The former vice-president has recorded a video message to be played at Tuesday's funeral service.

Mr Biden has described US President Donald Trump's response to the incident as "despicable", Mr Trump has retreated to a message of "law and order".

In Washington DC, Democrats on Capitol Hill knelt for eight minutes and 46 seconds - the length of time Mr Floyd spent with a police officer's knee on his neck - to honour him and the campaign his death has reignited.

The party also unveiled proposals to overhaul police procedures.

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called for "transformative structural change".

Main image: The casket of George Floyd before a memorial service at North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Picture by: Carlos Gonzalez/Zuma Press/PA Images

Share this article

Read more about

Funeral Funeral Service George Floyd Matt Harab Memorial Texas

Most Popular