June 25 marks one month since George Floyd's death

2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago Wednesday, June 24 2020 Jun 24, 2020 Wednesday, June 24, 2020 5:28:00 PM CDT June 24, 2020 in News
By: Caroline Dade and Kathryn Merck, KOMU 8 Reporters

COLUMBIA - Thursday marks the one-month anniversary of George Floyd's death.

On May 25, Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, kneeled on Floyd's neck for several minutes, even as Floyd said he couldn't breathe and after Floyd stopped moving. Chauvin has since been charged with second-degree murder. 

Over the past month, protests against racial injustice and police brutality have happened across the country, including in mid-Missouri, and protesters have frequently called for police reform. 

James Whitt is a longtime community activist in Columbia, and he currently oversees the Minority and Black Owned Business Directory. 

He said the past few weeks have been about personal choices and core values. 

“I think a lot of the protests that we’re seeing is a representation of people saying, you know, ‘This is unacceptable to me. I can’t be a part of this, so I have to say something. I can’t just sit back and turn my head and say oh well,’” Whitt said.

In addition to protests, there have also been other movements aimed at supporting members of the Black community. 

One movement focuses on supporting local Black-owned businesses

In Columbia, people compiled lists of Black-owned restaurants and stores in order to encourage support for the movement. 

Whitt said it's too early to know how much the effort has affected Columbia businesses, but he plans on surveying business owners soon. 

"You know, we’re still kind of early in the game," he said. "This initiative is just being pushed out there, and we’re seeing some positive results, and so we want to make sure that those positive results are sustaining.”

Whitt told KOMU 8 News he thinks the past month has been an inflection point in the nation's history.

"It's time for us to come together as a country and make a decision," he said. "That decision is how do we move forward together and whether we're willing to make those critical changes to get to where we need to go." 

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