As Andrew Yang continues his campaign for mayor, he met with Terrence Floyd—brother of George Floyd—on March 8 to discuss strained race relations in New York.
Terrence Floyd watched his brother lose his life through a camera lens as Derek Chauvin knelt on the 46-year-old’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in Minneapolis. Yang on the other, has seen countless acts of violence since the recent slew of xenophobic attacks on fellow Asian Americans. With these two distinct mindsets and experiences, the pair met at Grace Tabernacle Christian Center in Brooklyn to talk about what Yang could do to aid in the fight against racism if he were to be elected Mayor.
Accompanied by the Pastor of Grace Tabernacle John D. Wright and Rev. Kevin Mccall, Floyd sat across from Yang at a small table situated in the center of the house of worship located on 17-45 Pacific Street. Yang began by offering his condolences as many are waiting on baited breath for the murder trial against Derek Chauvin to begin as jurors are selected.
“Your brother’s passing—I mean murder—in front of everyone, it was so heartbreaking and devastating for any human being with a conscious but then for my Black friends it was like an entirely different experience. And then for you and yours seeing it, it’s actually your loved one, your brother, your relative, it would be a completely different level,” Yang said.
Floyd nodded his head solemnly, responding: “It’s been a journey. But as long as we keep fighting and we stick with people that’s goanna make change, and serious about making change then it’s worth it, it’s worth the fight.”
A part of that fight referred to police reform, which was a big talking point for all four individuals, with Rev. Mccall telling Yang that he yearns to see change within the department from the very top to the very bottom. Yang agreed with this, stating that he is committed to making this happen by appointing a civilian commissioner “who is not a product of the NYPD culture” and enforcing officers who work in the city to also reside there. Mccall concurred, declaring “There has to be understanding.”
The literal round table continued with the discussion of the recently released “discipline matrix,” which allows internet users to search a vast database for complaints made against officers. Mccall told Yang that he believes the NYPD Commissioner should be held accountable for the actions of his officers, which he says he would like to see the mayoral candidate employ if he were to be elected. Floyd echoed this thought citing not only his own brother as an example but also Christian Hall, a Chinese American who was fatally shot by Pennsylvania police while his hands were raised. “They have to be accountable,” Floyd added.
“When something terrible happens to someone, people look for a reason to justify it and the police feed into that. When a black boy gets shot and killed it is like ‘well, what was he doing?’ or all of a sudden they will bust out his history,” Yang said.
Throughout the back-and-forth conversion, one point was held above all: respect. All four men stated that humans need to be respected for being exactly that—human. The discussion lasted for about forty minutes and was one of many pitstops on Yang’s long campaign trail.