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Mourners vowing to be good Samaritans in the fight for racial justice packed a Houston church on Tuesday and paid tribute to George Floyd, whose death touched off worldwide protests against racism and police brutality.
“This will be a home-going celebration of brother George Floyd," Fountain of Praise pastor Mia K. Wright told mourners. "We may weep, we may mourn, but we will find hope."
Tuesday's service came one day after top Democrats in the House and the Senate unveiled far-reaching legislation to overhaul policing in the United States as protests over excessive force by law enforcement against African Americans and others have gripped the nation.
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At George Floyd funeral, Al Sharpton demands Roger Goodell 'give Colin Kaepernick a job'
Al Sharpton admonished NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at George Floyd's funeral on Tuesday, stating he should allow Colin Kaepernick to return to the league.
"Oh, it's nice to see some people change their mind," Sharpton said during a eulogy at the funeral in Houston. "The head of the NFL said, 'Yeah. Maybe we was wrong. Football players, maybe they did have the right to peacefully protest.'"
"Well, don't apologize — give Colin Kaepernick a job back," Sharpton said. His remarks were met with loud applause from the congregation.
"Don't come with some empty apology. Take a man's livelihood. Strip a man down of his talents," Sharpton also said. "And four years later, when the whole world is marching, all of a sudden, you ... talking about you sorry."
Washington, D.C. National Guardsmen test positive for COVID-19
The D.C. National Guard says that some of its members have tested positive for COVID-19 since it was mobilized to respond to the protests over George Floyd’s death in Washington, but would not disclose how many had tested positive because of what a Guard official called "operational security."
As of Monday, June 1, the entire D.C. National Guard, which has 3,400 members, had been activated to assist in the response to protests. Members of the National Guard from other states were brought into the capital as well, including South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Utah and Indiana.
"National Guard personnel are social distancing and use of PPE measures remained in place where practical throughout the entire National Guard support to assist local and federal law enforcement responding to the civil unrest in the District of Columbia," the branch said in a statement. "All Guardsmen who are suspected to be at high risk of infection or have tested positive for COVID-19 during demobilization will not be released...until risk of infection or illness has passed."
NYC to rename city streets to honor Black Lives Matter
New York City will paint and rename streets in the city to honor the Black Lives Matter movement, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.
“It’s time to do something officially representing this city to recognize the power of the fundamental idea that black lives matter, the idea that so much of American history has wrongly renounced but now must be affirmed,” de Blasio said during his daily media briefing.
The proposal calls for the city to name streets and paint the words “Black Lives Matter” in a prominent area in each borough, with the Manhattan location being near City Hall. The mayor said he will work with the city council to determine the other four locations throughout the city.
The idea, de Blasio explained, came after a meeting he had Sunday with activists, including Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who died in 2014 after being placed in an apparent chokehold by an NYPD officer. Washington, D.C. painted and renamed a section of street near the White House on Friday.
“What will be clear, the street name and on the streets of our city, is that message that now this city must fully, fully deeply feel and this nation must as well, that black lives matter,” de Blasio said.
'The world knows George Floyd, I know Perry Jr.'
George Floyd's family members, speaking at Tuesday's service, said they were grateful for well-wishers honoring their brother, uncle and nephew, often called "Perry," his middle name.
"I would like to thank the whole world," aunt Kathleen McGee said. "But I just want to make this statement: The world knows George Floyd, I know Perry Jr."
Floyd's niece told mourners she'll never forget her uncle's last words, "I can't breathe."
"Hello my name is Brooke Williams, George Floyd’s niece — and I can breathe," Williams said. "As long as I’m breathing, justice will be served for Perry."
McConnell says Tim Scott will lead group tasked with racial discrimination legislation
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday that Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., will lead a Senate group tasked with crafting legislation to address racial discrimination.
Scott is the Senate's lone black Republican member and one of three black senators in the chamber.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, McConnell said he asked Scott "to lead a group that is working on a proposal to allow us to respond to the obvious racial discrimination that we've seen on full display on our television screens over the last two weeks and what is the appropriate response by the federal government."
"Tim spent most of our lunch explaining our proposal that's in the works, and he will have, and we all will have more to say about that in the future," McConnell added.
Rep. Al Green calls for creation of federal office to address historic mistreatment of African Americans
Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, on Tuesday called for the creation of a federal Department of Reconciliation to atone for the historic mistreatment of African-Americans while speaking at George Floyd's funeral.
"But I believe there's one more thing that we ought to do to make a difference. We have got to have reconciliation. This country has not reconciled its differences with us," he said. "We survived slavery, but we didn't reconcile. We survived segregation, but we didn't reconcile."
He added, "It's time for a Department of Reconciliation in the highest land, the highest office. It's time to have someone who’s going to make it his or her business to seek reconciliation for black people in the United States of America every day of his life. That's what it is is all about. It's time for us to reconcile. We need a Department of Reconciliation."
Green is among several lawmakers who have pushed legislation to form a commission to examine slavery and discrimination in the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend remedies. Countries such as Austria, Canada, France and Germany have atoned for past wrongs by paying reparations. The U.S. also paid reparations to Japanese Americans who were held at internment camps, first with the Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act of 1948 and then the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, both of which allocated millions for survivors.
Biden calls for 'racial justice' during emotional George Floyd funeral speech
Joe Biden offered condolences to the grieving family of George Floyd during a taped emotional address played at Floyd's funeral service on Tuesday, urging the country to use his death as a moment for action to address systemic racism.
"Now is the time for racial justice. That’s the answer we must give to our children when they ask why. Because when there is justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America," an emotional Biden said in the video.
Addressing the Floyd family, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee offered his sympathy that the family had to grieve in public, but assured them their "numbness… will slowly turn, day after day, season after season, into purpose."