Four years after George Floyd’s murder, his family doesn’t want you to forget him

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Selwyn Jones continues to count each passing day since the murder of his nephew, George Floyd, at age 46.

“Come tomorrow, it’ll be 1460 days that he hasn’t been able to have the same opportunities that we all have because somebody decided that they would be judge, jury and executioner,” he tells in an exclusive interview reflecting on the four-year anniversary of Floyd’s death.

Floyd died on May 25, 2020 after Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, knelt on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds while bystanders were prevented from intervening. The day after, protests broke out in Minneapolis, igniting more protests across the country and around the globe.

In the years after, Floyd’s individual tragedy became symbolic of the grim reality of ongoing racial conflicts and issues of police brutality in the United States and the world over.

Now, as Jones reflects on his nephew's passing and legacy, he says not much has changed.

“I’ve probably been to 40 funerals (since his death), and I was just told today that I gotta go to another one,” he says. “People say how much change has happened. There’s been some change. But will there ever be enough change? ‘No, there isn’t enough being done,’ I go to bed every night thinking.”

Selwyn Jones (Courtesy / Hope929 Organization)
Selwyn Jones (Courtesy / Hope929 Organization)

It’s a reality that, he says, gives him both anguish and motivation. Jones recalls the time before Floyd's death when he felt content as a Rainbow Vacuum salesman.

“I really miss selling vacuum cleaners because I got to laugh and joke all the time," he said. "And I don’t laugh and joke so much anymore.”

These days, Jones is knee deep in his focus to seek justice and safety for marginalized people through his foundation, Hope9:29, which organizes social outreach initiatives and helps to provide "support and resources for those who have been disempowered." Last month, the activist spoke at Harvard University, and in June, he’ll head to the White House to celebrate Juneteenth.

As he looks to the future, Jones hopes that his late nephew’s legacy will continue to evolve.

“I would love to have a George Floyd Day,” he says. “We, as Black people, have never been able to get away from. I don’t want people to judge people by the color of their skin, the size of the house, what kind of car you drive. I want people to judge him because of the contents of your mind.”

Though he acknowledges that not everyone in his family is aligned on their visions of what bringing about such changes might look like or how to keep Floyd’s memory alive, it's safe to say that they can all agree it's important to lift up and support Floyd’s daughter Gianna, who is now 10.

“She’s gonna see things her whole life that’s gonna lift her up and say, ‘Hey, my daddy did change the world,’” he says. “He gave that opportunity to change the world. So she will be just fine. She’s got a good support system behind her. God bless my little niece.”

While George Floyd's shocking death, which is still seared in the minds of many, is a moment in history that some hope to forget and move on from, Jones urges those people to pause and sit in that discomfort.

“Open your eyes. Don’t let it pass. Don’t let it go,” he says, before noting that what happened to his nephew affected all people -- and not just people of color.

"Hate doesn’t matter about color. So we all just need to figure out what we need to do so we can bond together and create this change and society in life,” he says.

This article was originally published on