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“Purpose Before My Pain”: Terrence Floyd Highlights Advocacy During UGBC Event

In a sold-out auditorium on Tuesday night, Terrence Floyd shared the story of how he first met his brother George Floyd at a family gathering. Floyd said they were able to form a strong connection, but just four years after that day, in May of 2020, his brother was taken from him.

“That’s why this story is so powerful to me,” Floyd said. “And I still want to speak for my brother, because I got a chance to hear what he had to say, hear what he wanted to do, hear his plans.”

UGBC hosted Floyd in Robsham Theater at an event titled “In Conversation with Terrence Floyd.” Upon entering the auditorium, attendees were handed a slip of paper with the name of a victim of police brutality on it. There was a moment of silence to honor these victims before Floyd was brought onstage. 

Floyd is the founder of We Are Floyd, a nonprofit organization that he started after his brother George Floyd was killed by a police officer in 2020, which spurred protests and debates about police brutality across the United States. Floyd said his friends encouraged him to start his nonprofit after they saw him deliver a speech about his brother’s death that resonated with people.

Floyd said he later gave a different talk at his former elementary school, where he realized how his brother’s death affected people of all ages.

“These children need to heal, the young adults need to heal, and the adults need to heal,” Floyd said. “So that’s what I’ve been doing now, as far as We Are Floyd, going around to different schools … I basically thrive off of going into schools and talking to the students.”

According to Floyd, his conversation about his brother’s death and legacy was not about race, but about issues that affect all human beings.

“I’m speaking for my brother tonight,” Floyd said. “I’m not speaking for myself. So I want whatever he would say to you, whatever answers he would give to you, I want to be able to give to you. I want to be able to let you know that it’s not a Black or white thing, but it’s a human being thing.”

Floyd then spoke about his relationship with his brother, sharing that even when they had fights, they still loved each other. According to Floyd, he looked up to his brother and gained advice from him. 

“I want people to understand he was the type of person to look up to, to get advice from, just to be that shoulder,” Floyd said. “He wasn’t, you know, the demon that social media tried to make him out to be. He was a real person.”

Since his brother’s death, Floyd said he has carried on by helping others. 

“I just put my purpose before my pain, if that makes sense,” Floyd said. “You know, because my pain is going to help someone else. And prayerfully—not hopefully, prayerfully—it’ll stop it from happening or hitting somebody else’s doorstep.”

Floyd encouraged the audience to advocate for equality by posting on social media and exercising the right to vote. 

“Don’t think your voice don’t matter,” Floyd said. “Educate yourself and vote. Don’t just vote for who your friend is voting for, or what you feel is comfortable.”

According to Floyd, there also needs to be accountability from law enforcement, local governments, and national governments to create lasting change within the criminal justice system.

“Accountability has to go all across the board,” Floyd said. “If it don’t go across the board, it’s not going to happen.”

Floyd advised the audience that change does not happen overnight, but the best way to attack systemic racism is by staying true to oneself and remaining kind.

“Just be you,” Floyd said. “You can’t really change people. You know, you can change yourself, but if you continue to be who you are, and be that change, then everything else will follow.”

February 14, 2023