Activists in Birmingham continue to fight for change a year after George Floyd’s death

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Vigils and rallies were held across the country Tuesday, even in Birmingham, honoring the life of George Floyd.

Activists held a remembrance at Kelly Ingram Park and shared their thoughts on the past year and how some change has come from Floyd’s death, but they believe more needs to be done.

“But the reality is that we still have a very serious issue and that issue did not happen or start with George Floyd,” Interim President and CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute DeJunna Thompson said.

Activist Satora Dudely says Tuesdays gathering was about more than George Floyd.

“Asking for more than justice for George Floyd, Donte Wright, AJ Bradford or Ahmad Aubrey,” Dudley said.

Dudley, along with other activists in attendance, tells CBS 42 police reform is desperately needed in Birmingham.

“I mean, as someone who has been brutalized by the police before, they aren’t qualified to really do anything. So, reallocating resources is just the first step,” Dudley said.

Thompson says she went to Minneapolis the day after Floyd was killed by former police officer Derrick Chauvin, joining other activist leaders across the country. She says something felt different about this tragedy compared to others in the past and that Floyd’s death woke up a lot of America.

“It became that spurt. It became that sort of kick in the pants for a lot of people who may have even thinking about these conversations before,” Thompson said.

The NAACP held a virtual event on Tuesday called the George Floyd Virtual Day of action as they urged people to contact their United States senators to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“Every single person has to be committed to change and the work of justice,” Thompson said.

People marched from Kelly Ingram Park to one of the nearby murals in honor of Floyd. Dudley and other activists say the fight for change is far from over.

“Asking for justice for all of us,” Dudley said.

“But I do think it’s possible. We’ve seen it before, we can see it again,” Thompson said.

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegalman was in attendance Tuesday night. He addressed the crowd and shared his support for police reform going forward. Dudley says they plan to hold more protests during the summer in the Birmingham area.

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