More than 50 people gathered at a mural of George Floyd in Salt Lake City on Tuesday night to mourn him one year after his death. Vigil attendees took turns setting candles and bouquets beneath the mural as Bob Marley played from a speaker. One person burned sage beside the piece of artwork.
Local activists gave speeches about Floyd’s death and the state of policing in Utah.
Rae Duckworth, whose cousin Bobby Ray Duckworth was killed by police in 2019, said in a speech that the change that has happened since Floyd’s death isn’t adequate. She said people should call legislatures, mayors and city council members to demand that police officers be held accountable and to advocate for an end to qualified immunity.
She began to cry during her speech and said it was a “hard and heavy” day.
“It is very, very hard to stand in front of a crowd of my community members and explain why I matter,” she said, after leading a Black Lives Matter chant.
Speaker Aaron Adams said Floyd’s murder was cold, calm and callous. “This is our modern-day Emmett Till, right here,” he said, referring to the Black 14-year-old who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after he was accused of offending a white woman.
Ty Bellamy, founder and president of the Black Lives for Humanity Movement, said Black and brown people in Utah experience racism every day, from neighbors who don’t want them in their neighborhood and clerks who aren’t happy to see them in stores.
“The world rose up when they saw a man murdered blatantly and so comfortably on video, but this isn’t new to us,” she said.