NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A year after the murder of George Floyd, a local public policy expert is weighing in on how his death has changed not just the United States, but the world.
Dr. Eric Claville is the director for the Center of African American Public Policy at Norfolk State University. The center opened in 2019 and is a think tank that brings the community and public policymakers together to shape laws that impact the people they represent.
Since Floyd’s murder, Claville says he’s seen more people become interested in policy.
“Just as the pandemic saw an increase in applications for medical school, public health, scientific research, we saw an increase in interest to law school, criminal justice, and more money go toward public service and endowing and providing scholarships, internships, externships in jobs involving public service and criminal justice reform,” he said.
Floyd was murdered by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck following an arrest for more than nine minutes.
Claville says despite seeing the damage and discrimination of African Americans and the Black community for centuries in our country, Floyd’s death stood out.
“Something about the murder of Floyd on May 25, 2020 not only captivated the people that were there and not only captivated the Black community, it captivated the world. That cry for help, that display of abusive power, that taking away of a life galvanized the world to say ‘No more,'” he said.
Following Floyd’s death, there were protests worldwide as well as changes to laws and calls to action.
The calls to action were not only among politicians, celebrities, and leaders; they also came from businesses.
“We saw many corporations step up to say we also have to make a change,” Claville said. “Not just the world galvanized around the protests and marching but we saw corporations and persons in power and influence galvanize around this issue to make the changes they could from their standpoint.”
Because of this, Claville believes Floyd’s murder is one that will be long-remembered.
“The murder of George Floyd will go down in history as one of the most powerful moments in humanity, not just criminal justice, not just civil rights, not just policy reform but in humanity,” he said.
But in order to continue to build on the changes we’ve seen, Claville says it’s important for people to remain involved.
“The key to ensure that the death of George Floyd is not in vain is to continue to pay attention, continue to stay engaged in the policies that are currently on the books that need to be changed, and the creation and drafting of policies that should go on the books that should be changed — that [of] our countries, states, municipalities, and our world — so that we need to be seen not just as citizens, but human beings in this global world,” he said.
And that can happen through conversations geared toward solutions, according to Claville.
“As a country, we’ve shown when we’re shown with difficult decisions, we step up to the plate and deal with them. The question becomes how far will we go? How much will we change? And, what will be our legacy in this time in ensuring all persons in our country have the protections under the law, no matter who they are?” he said.