The Death of George Floyd and Ensuing Social Unrest

Selfie of George Floyd.

On May 25, 2020, a video depicting an incident of police brutality in Minneapolis, MN was posted to social media sites and quickly went viral. The video showed the murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, by a white police officer.

Floyd’s death sparked a wave of national and international protests against police brutality and structural racism more generally. The Black Lives Matter movement has been at the forefront of the fight for racial justice for Black people since the early 2010s; it had another resurgence following George Floyd’s death. Its corresponding hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter, trended on social media sites. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuing quarantine and social distancing guidelines, the hashtag became a hub of activism where people organized protests, spread resources, and expressed their emotions about what had transpired. The protests held after Floyd’s death were the largest in the country since the Civil Rights era. Protestors rallied around Floyd’s words, “I can’t breathe.”

Protestors marching towards the State House in Boston, MA, on May 31, 2020. Photo credit: Jesse Costa/WBUR.
A protestor holds a sign reading, “Until the color of your skin is the target, you will never understand! #ICan’tBreathe #BlackLivesMatter #WeDeserve&DemandJustice” at a protest in Boston, MA on May 31, 2020. Photo credit: Robin Lubbock/WBUR.
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