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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Soon, Memorial Service in Minneapolis for George Floyd; Memorial Service for George Floyd. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired June 4, 2020 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: And just gutted by the realization that what Rodney King's daughter said will be true, unfortunately, not just for young Gianna, not just for the family of Walter Scott or Philando Castile or Tamir Rice or Trayvon Martin or Sandra Bland or the list goes on and on, Ahmaud Arbery. The list goes on. It could take the length of a week to name people.
I want to make sure we continually to reorient the focus not only with the symbolism of George Floyd but the specificity of their pain. Why it's important as part of any holistic response and pursuit of justice to also focus on what has happened to the individual, not to hijack the pain in name of a symbol. But to acknowledge what they're going through right now and what she'll have to endure.
When I think about the youth and this young 6-year-old girl, can anyone remember that magazine cover of Medgar Ever's son crying, knowing his father was never coming home. The idea of tears at the funeral, his own home going, remembering what that looked like.
We're seeing this repeat. And history told us it will repeat unless we act some way to stop it.
And I think where we're seeing, right now, why this time is so important is it gives a new phrase, a new meaning behind the phrase, "Say his name." Not just making sure people are aware of the humanity but reorienting to ensure we remember people like Gianna are having to endure this in a personal way, will have to grow and understand this later in life.
I am somebody who is the youngest of three daughters to a black man. I speak to my father every single day, every single day, and multiple times a day, much to his chagrin at times.
And I think, all the moments in my life that I wanted my father, I needed my father, his counsel, his advice, his wisdom, to understand his journey and to have it be telling me about where I would go.
My heart is broken for this young woman. It is broken because I know what's ahead. But she has said, "My daddy changed the world." And little girl, you're right. And it's for the better on behalf of you. And I hope she'll hear that as well.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: I've got a question for you, Laura, because you brought up your father, who perhaps, to his chagrin with -- you speak with daily.
And I wonder as we think about multi-generations and we watch this change, I'm thinking of Sara Sidner, who spoke a moment ago from the people's memorial at the site of George Floyd's death.
And she was speaking about her 70-year-old dear friend who helped raise her, who has my skin color, who texted her this morning and said, all right, like, I want to help. Connect me with your contacts, with the NAACP.
And I'm just wondering, as you talk about your 6-year-old daughter and then you and your 70-year-old father who has seen a lot in this country and a lot of ugly, I'm wondering what he thinks of the notion that there's change.
Hold that thought. I'm being told we're going to listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The friends and the family of George Floyd and all of our esteemed guests here today, I want to welcome you on behalf of the university, on behalf of Dr. Scott Hagan, president, on behalf of the Board of Regents, on behalf of the faculty. We're so grateful that you're here with us today.
And we're honored that you have come to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Mr. George Floyd.
On behalf of everyone here, I want to personally express our deepest condolences for this tragic loss.
Now to open this service, this celebration of his life, we will have a scripture reading from Reverend Jerry McAfee, pastor of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church, followed by an opening prayer from Dr. Scott Hagan, president of North Central University, and a solo by Ms. Tawana (ph) Porter.
REV. JERRY MCAFEE, PASTOR, NEW SALEM MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH: On behalf of the pastors and preachers from Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the Bloods on the south side, Grand Disciples on the north side, Psalms 27.
The Lord is my light and my salutation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes came upon me to eat at my flesh, they stumbled and fell, though, and hosts should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear.
The war should rise against me, in this should I be confident, one thing I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble, he shall hide me in his pavilion and the secret of his tabernacle should hide me, should set me up upon a rock.
(APPLAUSE) DR. SCOTT HAGAN, PRESIDENT, NORTH CENTRAL UNIVERSITY: Just once again, on behalf of North Central University, I want to welcome the Floyd family to our campus. This is truly an undeserved honor for our university.
I have been praying all week that this sacred space would become a table of healing for the Floyd family, for the city of Minneapolis, and for the world that is grieving beyond these walls.
In just a moment, I want to offer a brief prayer. But before I offer that brief prayer, I just want to announce, as president of this school, the institution of the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship.
HAGAN: Even before announcing this scholarship yesterday, unsolicited, over $52,000 was handed to the me to contribute towards the educational promise of aspiring young black American leaders.
HAGAN: But here's what I really want to say. Far beyond North Central University, I am now challenging every university president in the United States of America to establish your own George Floyd Memorial Scholarship Fund.
HAGAN: So people across this nation can give to the college of their choice. It is time to invest like never before in a new generation of young black Americans who are poised and ready to take leadership of our nation.
So university presidents, let's step up together.
I want to invite you now to pray with me, if you will.
Lord, your word in Proverbs 31 is dynamically clear. It says to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and the helpless, and see that they get justice.
Lord, we are asking today for you to take this table of healing here in Minneapolis today, and multiply this healing all over this nation as part of that now never-fading voice crying out on behalf of those who have been and who are now being crushed in body and spirit.
At this table of healing today, Lord, we ask that you touch the Floyd family with supernatural comfort and grace, that they may be granted a few moments of respite as their beloved father and brother and son is remembered in a way that honors his life and his personal faith in Jesus Christ.
At this table of healing, we are asking you, Lord, to show us the way. Our city and nation are becoming rightfully despondent with neighbors set against neighbor. Help us to repent, not just seek to restore. As a nation, as cities, as universities, and as religious communities, heal, make new and help us, oh, Lord, rebuild our national family.
And finally, Lord, at this table of healing today, we are asking you to search our hearts as pastors, rabbis, priests, imams, business leaders, politicians and educators. Help us reconcile our failed witness and lead us forward as caring neighbors and diligent gatekeepers of mutuality and mercy.
Guide this generation to change the national narrative on race and power and change all of our hearts until they match your heart.
We ask all of these things in the name above all names, Jesus Christ. Amen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Tawana (ph). Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
Yes, yes. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
We're going to have the opportunity now to hear in just a moment from loved ones, friends and family of George Floyd.
But before that, I would like to welcome to the podium attorney, Benjamin Crump, for his remarks. Would you please welcome him?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF GEORGE FLOYD: I'm attorney, Ben Crump, and along with attorney, Tony Romanucci, and attorney, Chris Stewart, and by co-counsels out front seeking justice, seeking justice --
CRUMP: -- seeking justice for the family of George Floyd --
CRUMP: -- along with a lot of other great attorneys who are working in the background, who I will mention briefly before we bring up the ones who knew George Floyd all of his life.
I want to thank lawyers in the Vineyards like Devin Jacob (ph), Chris Neil (ph), Lee Merritt (ph), Daryl Parks (ph), Jasmine Rand (ph), Bill Pentas (ph) and Carol Powlexin (ph). Because you may see Tony and Chris and I but it's a whole team of lawyers who are working because it's going to take a united effort fighting in the courtroom and outside the courtroom to get justice for George Floyd.
CRUMP: I would tell you all that because of the coronavirus pandemic, we have to stay on a strict schedule, and we all have to do this social distancing. But I want to just put it on the record, Reverend Al, that it was not the coronavirus pandemic that killed George Floyd. I want to make it clear on the record.
CRUMP: We'll pack that in with the other pandemic that we're far too familiar with in America, that pandemic of racism and discrimination that killed George Floyd.
CRUMP: So before we make a plea to justice, we feel it's appropriate that you hear from the people who really knew George, the boy, adolescent, knew George the man, and from whence George came.
So I would ask that his brother, Philonise Floyd, his brother, Rodney Floyd, his cousin, Chereta Tate (ph), his nephew, Brandon Williams, please come to the stage.
And I will ask attorney, Tony Romanucci, and attorney, Chris Stewart, to come and stand with me behind them as you united they tell the world why we should celebrate the life of George Floyd.
Please come up, family.
PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: Well, how you all doing? My name is Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd.
We come up together, we didn't have much. Our mom did what she could. We would sleep in the same beds. Play video games together, go outside and play catch with the football.
And I used to say to myself, like, man, you can't throw, you can't throw at all, you know what I mean? Because the ball never came to me.
(LAUGHTER) P. FLOYD: And years down the line, because I was catching with one
hand, two hands, anyway you threw it, I would try to catch it. And he said, I can throw, but I just wanted to get you the ball. Ball don't need to come to you, you just need to go get the ball.
But you know, my brother, we did a lot of things together, from like talking with my mom, dancing with my mom, cooking with my mom, brothers and sisters. So much. We made banana mayonnaise sandwiches together. You know, it was a family thing.
Every day we know when we come in the house our mom was going to have a huge plate of food separate from each other and we would argue with each other whose plate it was. And I'm like 10 or 11 and I'm talking about the plate with six pieces of chicken is mine and he is way bigger than me, you know? He's huge.
So from that, being in the house with my brother, man, it was just like inspiring to other people because my mom used to take in other kids. And most of them was George' friends. And they wanted to stay with her. They loved her.
And my brother, he was OK with it. So then you had -- to me, they were grown then because they kicked me out of the room. They were like 16, 17, sleeping in the same bed, waking up, going to the same school. And they wouldn't leave each other at all. They always wanted to be with each other at all times.
I remember nights when the day before school, we didn't have a washing machine. So we would all go in and put our socks and underwear in a bathroom sink and just start washing them. If we didn't have detergent, but we would use soap. Because we would be clean. We're going to be clean.
And then right after that, we would take the socks and hang them over the hot water heater. And take the hot water heater and hang them over here. And we'd fight about it. Me and his friends would be like, no, no, you did it last night. Because your clothes would still be damp if you didn't put them on the hot water heater.
So from that -- and we learned a lot of stuff, but it is crazy, because we would like -- we didn't have a drier, so the fastest way to dry your clothes was to put them in the oven. They dried faster like that.
So I love my brother, man. We had so many memories together. I remember him waking me up, telling me, hey, man, can you iron my clothes? And I look at them, but then I look at his size and say you're right, big brother, you're right. Know what I mean?
Because it was just -- it was just amazing. Everywhere you go and see people how they clinged to him. They wanted to be around him. George, he was like the general. Every day, he walks outside, there would be a line of people, just like when we came in, wanted to greet him and want to have fun with him.
[14:55:05] Guys doing drugs, smokers and homeless people, you couldn't tell because when you spoke to George. They felt that they were the president because that is how he made you feel.
He was powerful, man. He had a way with words. He could always make you ready to chomp and go all the time. Everybody loved George.
We didn't call him George. We called him Perry. If you called him Perry, you knew him direct, you know. Because George was named - everybody called him Big George or Big Floyd. So many different names.
But I'll let --
P. FLOYD: Man, this is crazy, man. All these people came to see my brother. And that is amazing to me that he touched so many people's hearts. You know, because he's been touching our hearts, you know.
And you come to third ward, where they from, people are crying now because that's how much they loved him.
I'm just staying strong as I can because I needed to get it out. I need to get it out. Everybody want justice. We want justice for George. He's going to get it. He's going to get it.
CHERETA TATE (ph), COUSIN OF GEORGE FLOYD: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm just going to echo some of the things that Philonise talked about, and that is that we come from a lot of large family members. Our mothers were siblings of 13.
And if I can kind of fast forward a little bit, my aunt lived in Houston. And she would always talk about being there and not having any other siblings close to her. So my mother decided to move to the Houston area. That is early '80, '81.
And so where we came to Houston and we were all excited that we could have somebody close to us,. But the only time that we would really see each other was during the holidays or when people would travel to my grandmother's.
Long story short, I mean, we didn't have a whole lot, but we always had each other. And we were taught that we could always bring people into the fold. No one should ever go home without having a meal or having food.
And so that is how -- because he talked about my aunt was someone in the community that all the kids loved to come over there. And she ended up having, you know, 30 or 40 kids that would come over there because they always knew that they could get something to eat if they came there. And not only food, but they could be loved and feel part of the fold.
So we were raised to always welcome people and embrace people. And so you could see all these people, no matter who you talked to, they would all say the same thing, that George was always welcome and always made people feel like they were special. And nobody felt left out.
And he would enter into a room, everybody would feel like they were special. He would embrace them.
And as I think about the thing that I will miss good him most is his hugs. He was this great big giant and when he would wrap his arms around you, you just feel like that you were -- everything could go away, any problems that you had, any concerns that you had would just go away.
So while we're all grieving, I just want to highlight his children. You know, Quincy, G.D., Tyson and Gianna, his three-year old granddaughter.
We are need prayer. But if I am honest about it, we are all more concerned about his children and his granddaughter. So I ask as you pray for us as we go through this marathon to make sure that justice is served on George's behalf, or Perry as we call him, I ask that you pray for us and especially for the children.
RODNEY FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: Wow. How you all doing? I'm Rodney Floyd, the youngest brother of George Floyd.
And my older brother, P.J., was talking about childhood memories and how we grew up and I'd like to start off where he left off.
We didn't have much going but all that stuff of washing our clothes was ingenuity.
R. FLOYD: Hey, we worked with what we had.
And I appreciate everyone in here. And the state of Minneapolis. You all have showed him so much love. And we feel the love in your city. And, thankfully, everybody around the world.