Looking Back: George Floyd’s Greatest Legacy Was Being a Human Being

Joel Eisenberg

He was no myth, nor was he perfect. His death continues to resonate as neither are we.

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George Floyd Street Art, Mauerpark (Berlin), GermanyAdam Berry/Getty Images

It took 8 minutes and 46 seconds for one man’s passing to change the world. The date was May 25, 2020, nearly a year and a half ago at the time of this writing.

His death has continued to resonate to the point where I received this call the other day:

“So what do you think?” my friend asked. “Will George Floyd go down in history as a martyr?”

I have to admit I found the question keenly provocative.

George Floyd was imperfect, but who among us truly holds the opposite distinction?

Not a one.

***

Anyone with a computer connection or a television set can read of both Mr. Floyd’s tough past and what was to be his hopeful future. It is not my job here to rehash; it is my job here as a writer to keep game-changing and/or newsworthy events in the public eye.

He was from most indications beloved by family and friends, so many of whom have been working to heal the world since his passing.

During Floyd’s funeral in Houston, the word “love” had been repeated most frequently.

His past truly does not matter today. The man is dead. Yet the world is still talking both “love” and “hate” and both discussions are equally voluminous.

Police reforms still beckon as do whole other tactics of handling racism. Yet today it can be argued the world is more divided now than ever, and efforts like the Black Lives Matter movement have stirred equal passions on all sides to where the group’s protests are being both heeded and ignored.

But they have been heard.

The former President of the United States and his divisive retweet of controversial political commentator Candace Owens’ tweet — losing her GoFundMe page for a local business owner who called Floyd a “thug” due to the damage to his business — just may have helped cement voting results last November.

Around the world the fight for justice continues.Calls for radical change proliferate.

But what exactly is the proposed nature of such “radical change?”

***

The fact that a regular man who has struggled, paid debts, and incited global transformation is still mourned so widely today is commendable.

Perhaps that says a great deal about the innate decency of most of us.

George Floyd’s fate will one day be repeated. Those words are as difficult to write as they are to consider. The frequency of such incidents will be determined based on whether the ultimate outcome leads to sustainable change.

No one further such incident can be accepted, however, as many of us will pick up and fight once again.

For all of those reading this piece who unlike me are religious, I will conclude thusly: There but for the grace of God go I.

He was imperfectly human. So are we.

The world changed in response to the nature of his loss, but in such a way that is both for and against what the man represented in life. George Floyd has proven the sum total of a human being is comprised of equal parts life and legacy, and of flaws that are neither always positive nor negative.

In do doing, his passing continues to shine a light on the rest of us.

The question becomes, “Will we ever agree on where we want to go from here?”

Thank you all for reading

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

Northridge, CA
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