Terrance Floyd keeps his brother’s name alive

Vydalia Weatherly, Staff writer

On Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 8:30 p.m., approximately 280 Mercyhurst students, along with a countless numbers of faculty, staff and members of the community flooded into the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center to listen to Terrence Floyd speak. Floyd is the half-brother of George Floyd who tragically died May 25, 2020, after Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes.

In the midst of a global pandemic, thousands of people courageously took to the streets to protest police brutality and systemic racism after news of George Floyd’s death and video footage begin to spread throughout the nations. Terrence Floyd was invited to campus by senior Cooper Hicks who serves as Mercyhurst Student Government’s Events Coordinator.

I, Vydalia Weatherly, along with senior Mercyhurst Student Government President, Lily Smith, had the privilege of interviewing Floyd. In a crowded Performing Arts Center, Floyd spoke about the legacy of his brother. Despite not growing up with his brother, Floyd discussed the bond they shared in their adult life and how losing his brother devastated his family. Floyd, who lived a normal life out of the spotlight, became an activist and public speaker after his brother’s death to keep George’s memory alive and to prevent another family from feeling the pain his father went through. “When you see me, think of George,” Floyd told the crowd repeatedly.

The Floyd family has launched a nonprofit organization named ‘We are Floyd’ to keep the memory of George alive. In recent years, Floyd has been impressed by the resilience of the younger generation as they fight for social change but says there is more we can do. Floyd argues that one weakness of the younger generation is that we lack the social skills needed to advance the fight. Floyd shared that when he was younger, he would go outside and interact with other people his age, but teens and young adults today prefer to spend their time on their phones or gaming devices. Floyd urged the crowd to be more social in their day-to-day lives, to go out and meet new people in person.

“It is only through communicating with one another and interacting with people from different backgrounds that social change can occur and last,” said Floyd. At dinner before the event, Floyd revealed that he had been invited to attend Tyre Nichols’s funeral but believed it was more important than ever to come to Mercyhurst to share his message. Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old black man, was beaten by five Memphis police officers and died from his injuries three days later on Jan. 10.

Floyd told the crowd in the PAC that everyone must continue to talk about police brutality as it continues to occur throughout the nation. Floyd commented that if even one person posted about his brother on social media each day, it will keep the conversation going and apply pressure for things to change for the better.

At the end of his discussion, Floyd told the crowd that we are all of the same race, the human race, and we must treat others better, love each other better, and protect one another from harm. That is the only way for society to truly heal, according to Floyd. The next day on Feb. 2, Black Students for Unity hosted a dialogue to debrief after Floyd’s discussion.

Students, faculty members, and Erie residents gathered in Zurn 114 to discuss what they learned from Floyd’s talk, but also their hopes for the future of the campus and the nation when it comes to bettering race relations and dealing with heavy issues, such as systematic racism. To learn more about events going on on campus and in Erie, you can visit the Hub or follow @hurstcampuslife on Instagram.