Houston Matters

Remembering George Floyd: Mixed results and lost momentum for changes in Texas, activist says

While a law was passed two years ago in Texas to prevent chokeholds like the one used on Floyd, so was one protecting law enforcement budgets, and other laws addressing reining in protestors. 


FILE: Graffiti artist Donkeeboy puts the finishing touches on a mural in honor of former Houstonian George Floyd, on Tuesday, June 2.


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Thursday marks three years since George Floyd was murdered by convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin. Video of the murder sparked nationwide protests and renewed focus on racial and police disparities. While a law was passed two years ago in Texas to prevent chokeholds like the one used on Floyd, so was one protecting law enforcement budgets, and other laws addressing reining in protestors.

Cherry Steinwender is the Executive Director of the Center for the Healing of Racism. She spoke to Craig Cohen on Houston Matters on Thursday to discuss if she feels things have gotten better.

Steinwender said she expected different outcomes than what has happened in Texas in the three years since Floyd’s death.

“The world was on notice, letting them know that we saw this,” she said. “And once you see it, you can never unsee it. And so the response was overwhelming. The Center grew a lot during that time right after. But it seems as though what has happened, to my disappointment, is that momentum that was built is slowly dissipating.”

Steinwender said the same thing happens all too often: people become excited, take to the streets, carry signs and banners, and wait for justice. Then things quiet down.

“And it seems as though it’s never happened,” she said.

It’s one of the reasons the Center is having its program tonight, Make Some Noise for George Floyd.

Since Floyd’s death, laws that limit local municipalities, law enforcement, budgeting efforts, and protesters have passed. Steinwender said they were backlash to the activism that happened immediately after Floyd’s death.

“I really think all of this [ban of] critical race theory, that you cannot teach in what you cannot teach, and books you can’t use within the schools, pre-K to 12. I really feel that it’s backlash as well, because too many people of all colors took to the street to do something.”

Steinwender said she believes the conversation about police-community relations has gotten harder than it was before Floyd’s death.

“Back then, we never talked about defunding the police, but this is a bigger issue,” she said. “Now, I feel because of all of the cell phones, of all of the people using their cameras, taking pictures, documenting things that happen, that to me makes it a much bigger issue. When these brutal occurrences happen, how law enforcement agencies, police agencies, even social activists, how they will come together and start having meetings and making reports? And then not only that, but all of the politicians and the police officers to be in front of the media, making promises that hold no water.”

The Center for the Healing of Racism will remember George Floyd on this third anniversary of his death with spoken word and song. The event free and open to the public and will be at the Center’s location at 3412 Crawford Street.

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