The murder of George Floyd marked a turning point in the national reckoning about race, social justice and police brutality, sparking protests, discussions and legislative efforts that reverberated around the world. But beyond the symbol that Floyd became was a man who had a tremendous influence on his community.
A year after Floyd’s murder, we visited the neighborhood in Houston where he grew up and talked to friends and relatives who described how Floyd had an impact on them. We unearthed stories such as the role he played in helping a high school teacher diffuse tensions between her students, as well as his lifelong friendship with a rapper who was taken in by Floyd’s family after his mother went to prison. We also examined some of the institutional and systemic forces that shaped his life and the lives of those who still live in Cuney Homes, the affordable living complex where Floyd grew up.
This multimedia project looks at the life of George Floyd from the perspective of six of his friends and relatives, and provides an intimate and humane look at his life. Through the eyes of those who knew him, the story also dives deep into the social and institutional issues that still affect his community, including racist urban planning policies and the pervasive lack of opportunities in places such as Cuney Homes. It also describes the strong community ties and bonds that help residents make up for some of the difficulties they face.
The project includes a narrative and heavily researched text, six short documentary videos profiling six individuals who were close to Floyd at some stage of his life, graphics and photography (including archival photos of the neighborhood and polaroid photos of the community).
Through this project we wanted to offer our readers a nuanced look at the life of George Floyd, as an opportunity to also examine larger issues of injustice faced by Black communities in the US.
This was a particularly important project for us to create, given that our audience is primarily Hispanic and immigrant, and very few projects of this kind have been published in Spanish. We felt it was important to bring this topic to the attention of our audience not only because of its national significance but also because they too, as part of a minority community, can have a chance to understand who George Floyd was and why he was so influential to those around him. The story was also published in English.