In Focus: George Floyd's legacy and impact

A year after George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis sparked calls for racial justice around the world, his memory is being kept alive through memorial sites, creative expression, proposed policy changes and community aid work.  

Minnesota continues to grapple with questions about police reform, racial inequity and the meaning of the word “justice” one year after Floyd, a Black man, was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer on Memorial Day 2020. Why is it important to carry history with us? And how does the past inform our work toward a more equitable future?  

MPR News host Angela Davis led our latest In Focus conversation with community leaders, memory keepers and activists working to preserve and maintain George Floyd’s impact and legacy in our Minnesota communities and beyond. 


  • Tina Burnside is the co-founder and curator of the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery (MAAHMG). She is also a civil rights attorney in Minneapolis, with a BA in journalism from the University of Minnesota and a JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School. As a writer, she has also penned numerous articles, a novel, and several theater plays. She was named a “Champion of Change” by Minnesota Monthly magazine in 2021.

  • Harry Colbert, Jr., is the editor-in-chief of North News in Minneapolis. Prior to joining North News, Colbert was a contributing writer and managing editor at Insight News, where he covered President Obama and other high-profile public figures. His work as a reporter, columnist, and editor has appeared in many news outlets, including the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s The Village, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Joplin Globe, and others. He is an award-winning journalist, with accolades including four Minnesota Newspaper Association awards, among many others. He lives in North Minneapolis’ Cleveland neighborhood.

  • Jeanelle Austin is the lead caretaker of George Perry Floyd’s memorial at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, where she guides a team of volunteers to stand in the unique space of preservation and protest. She is also the creator of Racial Agency Initiative, a racial justice leadership coaching company. She consults and speaks nationwide on topics intersecting with race in America. Sister Austin grew up a few short blocks away from the intersection of 38th & Chicago in South Minneapolis’ Bryant Neighborhood, and joyfully serves as a board member for the George Floyd Global Memorial.

In Focus is a series of convenings we are committed to leading on Minnesota’s persistent racial disparities. Through conversations with community leaders that are shaped by our curious, engaged audience, we hope to encourage new connections and relationships that will help Minnesota communities make progress toward equity and inclusion. 

If you have thoughts or questions about the event or this month’s topic, check out the MPR News In Focus page for different ways to share your experience. You can also join our discussion group on Facebook.

Create a More Connected Minnesota

MPR News is your trusted resource for the news you need. With your support, MPR News brings accessible, courageous journalism and authentic conversation to everyone - free of paywalls and barriers. Your gift makes a difference.