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One year ago today, George Floyd’s horrifying final moments were captured on video by bystanders. The murder galvanized the country, escalating the push for police reform and racial justice.
It also changed how Americans, particularly white Americans, see race relations and policing, my colleague David A. Graham reports. But the future of police reform remains uncertain: On the anniversary of his violent death, a national reform bill bearing Floyd’s name sits stalled on Capitol Hill.
In Floyd, some see family. “Many Black people feel a level of intimate proximity to the Floyd family and [are] deeply distressed by what happened to George,” Clint Smith writes.
Americans continue to be reminded that compliance will not prevent police violence. “For Black and brown people, this is the terror of American policing,” Ibram X. Kendi explains. “When we do not comply, we die like Daunte Wright did. When we do comply, we die like Adam Toledo did.”
The conviction of the former police officer Derek Chauvin for Floyd’s murder was an exception. The verdict was a victory for justice, but the trial showed “why the courts will remain a challenging venue to reform law enforcement in the United States,” David pointed out last month.
How did we get here? Revisit more than 160 years of The Atlantic’s writing on race and racism in America.