In Opinions: One year since George Floyd’s murder, what has really changed?

The fatal shooting of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25, 2020, sparked protests across the country and globally. Submitted by Julian Woodard

So much can happen in a year. 

On May 25, 2020, George Perry Floyd Jr. was murdered by former police officer, Derek Michael Chauvin, adding to the multiple police killings against unarmed African American individuals. While the Black Lives Matter Movement was already trending on many social media platforms, this event alone sparked an uprising unlike any other. 

In the year since, police reform has been debated in several states and local communities. In schools, teachers and students have tackled race and equity issues. But what has really changed? 

Are we making progress as a country or are we just protesting for nothing?

For starters, on April 20,2021, Chauvin was convicted for the murder of Floyd on the counts of second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaugher. He became one of the at least 44 police officers convicted in a fatal shooting case since 2005.  

Many took to social media discussing how this conviction was the start of something bigger, others like myself, see this conviction as one tiny step in what may seem like the right direction only because shortly after Chauvin’s verdict was announced: 16 year old Ma’Khia Bryant was shot and killed by Columbus, Ohio police. The deaths of African-American men and women are still making headlines on a regular basis. 

A lot of people are still treating the Black Lives Matter movement as a joke, as a trend. As part of one of my final exams, I came across an essay written by Micheal and Saheeda Thelwall about social media, more specifically Twitter and the effects COVID-19 has had. 

In the essay they stated, “Despite the huge increase in tweeting about racism after George Floyd, only 12% of tweets mentioned him or Black Lives Matter, with the rest often making more general anti-racism statements. Thus, the killing of George Floyd seems to have opened a large-scale social media space for public generalizations about systematic and institutionalized racism.” 

This fact proves that we are going nowhere as individuals are trying to make a change. 

We say it’s all in the government, they are the ones who make laws, the ones with the real power. It’s really the citizens. 

If we, the people of the United States bring enough consistent attention to the issues within our country, more convictions will be made, crime would hopefully go down.

We could make this country a better place to live, we had a year and somehow only changed the face in the White House. The people hold the power, this is supposed to be democracy. So let’s start acting like it.