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Biden calls for 'racial justice' during emotional George Floyd funeral speech

"Now is the time, the purpose, the season to listen and heal," Biden said during a taped speech played at George Floyd's funeral.
Joe Biden speaks via video link as family and guests attend the funeral service for George Floyd at The Fountain of Praise Church on June 9, 2020, in Houston.David J.Phillip / Pool via AFP - Getty Images

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.

Moments earlier he asked, “Why, in this nation, do too many black Americans — wake up knowing they could lose their life — in the course of living their life?"

"Why does justice not roll like a river nor righteousness like a mighty stream? Why?" he said.

"Ladies and gentlemen — we cannot turn away. We must not turn away," Biden continued. “We cannot leave this moment thinking we can once again turn away from racism that stings at our very soul and from systemic abuse that still plagues American life."

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."

The former vice president’s speech was met with applause, nods and affirmative responses.

Biden had taped the address Monday. He also on Monday had traveled to Houston to meet privately with the Floyd family, the Biden campaign said earlier this week. The campaign said it had decided that because Biden is protected and accompanied by Secret Service, his presence at the funeral would have caused too much logistical trouble.

Other politicians who spoke at Floyd’s funeral included Texas Democratic Reps. Al Green and Sheila Jackson Lee and Houston's Democratic Mayor Sylvester Turner.