US Democrats don kente, kneel in memory of George Floyd

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A memorial has been held in Texas for George Floyd, the African American whose death sparked global protests, with members of United States’ Democrats clad in kente – the Ghanaian cotton fabric made of interwoven cloth strips.

Led by Nancy Patricia Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the members, with the sashes around their necks, observed silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the exact time George Floyd’s killer knelt on his neck, as they knelt in to commemorate him.

“Last summer, a number of us went to Ghana to observe the 400 anniversary of the first slaves coming across the Atlantic. That tragedy, that horror of history, a then slavery in our own country and all of the consequences at that. We are here to observe that pain.

“We are here to respect the actions of the American people to speak out against that specifically manifested in police brutality. We are here to honour George Floyd,” said the Speaker.

It is not the first memorial service to be held for the deceased.

Prior to this, friends and other mourners had held such occasions in Minneapolis and North Carolina, where the 46-year-old was born.

On June 6, the African Union of Diasporan Forum in partnership with the Tourism Ministry and Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) laid wreaths in memory of Floyd at the DuBois Centre, Accra.

US Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie S. Sullivan was one of the speakers at the two-hour solemn ceremony as well as Nana Kobina Nketiah, Chief of Esikado.

CEO of the GTA, Kwasi Agyemang said the decision to show solidarity with the grieving community was informed by how the community honoured President Akufo-Addo’s invitation for the ‘Year of Return’ program.

Floyd was reported to have died on May 25 after Derek Chauvin, a white policeman, knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while he was being arrested in Minneapolis.

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