The public’s final opportunity to say farewell to George Floyd attracted thousands of mourners to a chapel in his native Houston on Monday, as his passing two weeks earlier continued to intensify marches in the US and all over the globe along with sparking an international discussion over social discrimination and violence by the police officers.
They went up and filed for hours through the doors of the Fountain of Praise Church, a house of worship that Floyd had visited for the most part of his life.
Mourners, mostly sporting masks and T-shirts with the phrase “I Can’t Breathe,” gathered six rows apart as they waited to see the coffin for a moment. Some decided to make the cross symbol when walking by. Two matching images of Floyd donning a black cap that spelled “Houston” with angel wings were painted on the stage behind the coffin. One man in the line, who had no shelter, collapsed with exhaustion as temperatures increased over 90 degrees and was rushed by stretcher to a cooling area set up at the front of the chapel.
The mourners had been arriving from close and far. Comill Adams told The Associated Press news service that she and her family had been traveling more than six hours from Oklahoma City along with two children aged eight and ten. Floyd passed away on May 25 when he stopped answering after a white Minneapolis police officer pushed his knee into his neck for almost nine minutes. His death has sparked worldwide demonstrations and attracted fresh scrutiny on policing and the U.S. criminal justice system handling African Americans.
Before the arrival of Floyd’s coffin, staff outside the church had created a huge flower arrangement of pleasant white roses on one hand in the shape of a heart along with the letters “BLM,” representing Black Lives Matter, made from blue roses and positioned on the top of the model. The latter side of the flower pattern consisted of red roses, and seemed to be in the form of a raised, clenched fist.