1 year after George Floyd's murder, activists reflect on what has changed in the fight for justice

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021
SoCal activists reflect on what George Floyd changed
Many community and religious leaders in Southern California are reflecting on the protests last year that sparked a movement and a call for change.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A year ago, people across the country and across the world took to the streets to protest the murder of George Floyd.

"Derek Chauvin's conviction came as the result of people's willingness to stand up," said Melina Abdullah, the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement in Los Angeles.

Abdullah says they are still fighting to defund the police and use that money for other things.

"Spend on things like housing and mental health resources, and after school programs and libraries and parks as the world opens back up," Abdullah said. "And we don't want to spend on violent policing."

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"I don't want this to be just a moment, as this is a movement," said pastor Oliver E. Buie from the Angeles Mesa Presbyterian Church. He and Jonathan Moseley from the National Action Network both took part in protests last year. They saw the reaction in the streets.

"Last year was a real shocking awakening because sometimes people hear about it, but to actually see it and they had to really digest 'Is this really America?'" said Moseley.

It was the disturbing video of George Floyd on the ground that led to demonstrations.

"I'm someone that advocates to always film the police," says Sennett Devermont.

He also took part in the protests last year. At that time last year, he told Eyewitness News, "The officer needs to be called a murderer. All four officers should be charged and any officer who didn't help in that scenario, I also think should be charged."

One year later, Devermont remembers what he felt as he marched with thousands of others in Santa Monica.

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"There is so much trauma in these communities. There's so much pain," he said. "I think for this time, for people to be able to express and let it out, in a lot of ways, it's a very powerful moment."

Abdullah said she will continue to push for change in the way cities do policing.

"We want people to understand what the Floyd family is also saying, that Derek Chauvin's conviction is only one step," Abdullah said.

Buie said he sees positive signs as we move forward.

"In the movement there are people of all races, all religions, all socioeconomic status coming together for justice, coming together to live together," Buie said. "That's one of the positives I've seen."