A Year Later: A Political Elegy For George Floyd

Kevin C. Peterson
4 min readMay 30, 2021

Comments Made During A Global Panel Discussion on the One Year Anniversary of the Lynching of George Floyd

Rev. Kevin C. Peterson

It was a year ago today — in the proximity of this present hour — that George Floyd, a gregarious and large middle-aged Black man, adorned in a black halter top tee-shirt, entered a local convenience store to make purchases with 20 dollars in cash that a store accountant deemed dubious money.

Moments later, Floyd lay prostrate on the street, and in the presence of irate onlookers, with the right knee of a local law enforcement officer on his neck.

Nine minutes. Twenty-Nine seconds.

The pressure put upon Floyd’s neck was purposefully applied and ceremoniously unrelenting. A lynching: The officer exerting the pressure was a picture of calm. His demeanor undisturbed. A countenance of resolve. Placid determination was the mask he wore.

The white law officer had subdued a menacing black subject into certain powerlessness and then led him into throes of death. George Floyd cried and begged. He panicked and pleaded. He bemoaned his impending fate. He called out to his dead mother at a point of painful, suffocating reckoning.

It was a year ago today — in the proximity of the present hour.

And the global eye of humanity watched the execution of George Floyd. Raw and uncensored. Without neither rhyme nor reason. His death was brutal. Unimaginable. Unimpeachably, and uncompromisingly unkind.

And we watched. But we could not watch.

What we saw was incredulous. Incendiary. Indecent. And many thousands gone.

We were made reluctant public witnesses to unadorned callousness. Indescribable humanity. We gazed upon his writhing body. His struggle. We observed unembellished barbarity. We looked upon abominable atrocity as life — little by little — left the body of George Floyd.

We stood as bystanders to what has been — over the course of centuries — a mad ritual in American life: The…

Kevin C. Peterson

Kevin Peterson is founder of the New Democracy Coalition and Convener of the Fanueil Hall Race and Reconciliation Project. He is a social and cultural critic.