After 10 tumultuous days across the United States, hundreds of people gathered at a private memorial service Thursday afternoon in Minneapolis for George Floyd, whose death in police custody has sparked widespread protests against police violence and systemic racism.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the civil rights organization National Action Network, took the stand at the service to call Floyd’s death emblematic of the oppression black Americans have faced since the nation’s founding.

“George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks,” Sharpton said. “What happened to Floyd happens every day in this country — in education, in health services and in every area of American life. It’s time for us to stand up in George’s name and say, ’Get your knee off our necks.’ ”

Mourners of all races — African American, white, Latino, Asian and Native American — gathered to show support for Floyd’s family. The ceremony in Minneapolis kicks off a four-day “celebration of life” touching all of the places Floyd called home. Additional services are planned in North Carolina and Houston over the coming days….

Across loudspeakers, Al Sharpton’s voice boomed through the streets around North Central University on Thursday, as the reverend delivered a eulogy for George Floyd.

Heads nodded in agreement with Sharpton’s words as they echoed through the crowd of hundreds.

Albert Ettinga clapped vigorously. He brought his entire family from Forest Lake, a suburb about 20 minutes from the Twin Cities, but his journey began in Cameroon. Ettinga and his family wore shirts with “I can’t breathe” across the front, words that he says have kept him up at night.

“I don’t understand why this happened behind my backyard,” Ettinga said. “I ask myself, what part of my color or what part of my body that some people don’t like?”

As an immigrant, he said he is used to America shaping the narrative of what the world should look like. He hopes to see the moment move beyond the United States to address the mistreatment of black people around the world.


U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Mayor Jacob Frey, Gov. Tim Walz, comedian Kevin Hart, rappers T.I. and Ludacris and veteran civil rights activist the Rev. Jesse Jackson were among the mourners who attended services….


image..NorthWest Hearld