Community marks third posthumous George Floyd birthday 

(l-r) Toshira Garraway Allen, George Floyd’s aunt Angela Harrelson and cousin Paris Stevens.
Photo by Cole Miska

Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence (FSFAPV) hosted a birthday celebration for George Floyd on Friday night, October 14, in George Floyd Square at 38th and Chicago. It was the third posthumous birthday gathering following the murder of Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020. Floyd would have been 49 years old.

Toshira Garraway Allen, founder of FSFAPV, hosted the event. FSFAPV is a group of families who have lost loved ones due to police violence. The group offers support for each other and puts on events to help keep the memory of lost loved ones alive.

“We are here today to love on each other as a community,” Garraway Allen said. “We know it was the community that fought for George Floyd and held the system accountable. We want to always stand in solidarity with his family and let everyone know that we’re standing together as a unit.”

The celebration included speakers from members of the Floyd family, Floyd’s girlfriend Courtney Ross, FSFAPV, and the local community around 38th and Chicago. 

“We must continue to keep George Floyd’s name alive. We must not let the system move on from what happened to George Floyd, and what happened to all the lives that led up to George Floyd,” Garraway Allen said.

Floyd’s Aunt Angela Harrelson reminisced on how much Floyd cared for his communities, and how he was affectionately known as “Big Floyd.” She spoke about how Floyd’s death sparked change. 

“His death was horrific,” Harrelson said, “but the change was so powerful… For the first time in history, Black and Brown people ran through this door, the chain on it was broken, it’s like he was running for freedom.” 

“This time we ran, we never looked back, because we saw that dream that Martin Luther King had talked about.”

Paris Stevens, Floyd’s cousin, thanked the community at George Floyd Square for fighting through the upheavals that occurred after Floyd’s death and encouraged them to continue fighting. “We’ll have to keep pushing forward,” Stevens said. “The trials and tribulations won’t stop, but things are getting better. Change is happening.” 

George Floyd birthday
l-r) Toshira Garraway Allen, George Floyd’s aunt Angela Harrelson and cousin Paris Stevens.
Photo by Cole Miska

Ross reminisced on her relationship with Floyd, saying he treated everyone “like a human,” no matter who they were. “He would go around everyone and put his arm around everybody and pray and love them up no matter where they came from and how they looked and what they had.” 

Ross said that Floyd would have wanted other people who were killed by police to be remembered as well. “I’m just a voice for one person, but Floyd is a voice for everyone who lost someone’s life. Floyd is up there; he is living glorious by God. I know he’s okay, so I want to make sure we uplift all those other names that we forget.”

Food was served along with a birthday cake for Floyd at the conclusion of the speeches, as well as a community prayer. One FSFAPV volunteer, Brandyn Tulloch, said he works with FSVAPV because it is important that people who have friends or family killed by police have support.

“[FSFAPV] deserves so much because it’s a group that none of them asked to become a part of—it’s a group none of them wanted to join, but they had no choice,” Tulloch said. “With these systemic issues that continue to happen, who’s to say it won’t happen to me? 

“And if it does happen to me or someone I know or someone I love, or a friend of a friend, I would hope there was a group I could lean on for support. If it’s me who passes away, who does my family go to? If my friend is murdered, who do I go to?”

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