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Trailblazing Black trans Minneapolis official sings soul-stirring tribute to George Floyd after he was killed by police

Lily Wakefield May 29, 2020
Andrea Jenkins George Floyd

Minneapolis City Council vice president Andrea Jenkins speaks to a group gathered outside the Cup Foods, where George Floyd was killed in police custody, on May 28, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Stephen Maturen/Getty)

Andrea Jenkins, a Black trans woman and vice president of the Minneapolis city council, gave a heartbreaking rendition of “Amazing Grace” at a press conference on the death of George Floyd.

At a press conference on the killing of George Floyd on Thursday, (May 28), Jenkins gave a haunting rendition of “Amazing Grace”.

Floyd, a Black man, was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer on Monday (May 25), who used his knee to pin Floyd to the ground by his neck until he went limp.

The 46-year-old, was was unarmed, can be heard a widely-shared video gasping “please, I can’t breathe”, and “don’t kill me”, before he passed away.

After his death Jenkins said she wanted to offer some “amazing grace” to Floyd’s family, and added: “My deepest condolences and sympathies are with you in this traumatic, tragic moment of grief.”

 

Jenkins continued: “I also stand here to grieve with my community today, with all the Black people all throughout this country, all throughout America and right here in Minneapolis.

“We feel as if there was a knee on all of our collective necks — a knee that says Black life does not matter to the institutions that dictate what happens in this culture and society.

“I am a part of this system to help to take that knee off of our necks. And that is the work that I will be doing.”

In becoming vice president of the Minneapolis city council, Andrea Jenkins was the first trans person of colour to be elected to any office in America. 

Protestors call for George Floyd’s killers to face murder charges.

Floyd was killed after four officers responded to an accusation by a grocery store worker that he had attempted to use a counterfeit $20 bill.

Police approached Floyd, 46, in his car and told him to leave the vehicle. He was handcuffed and, according to the BBC, a police statement noted his “medical distress”.

Video footage does not show how the confrontation started, but one of the white officers is seen using his knee to pin Floyd to the ground by his neck in the moments leading to his death.

Floyd’s family have called for the four police officers involved – Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng – to face murder charges, but police insist that they are still gathering evidence.

Chauvin has been identified as the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck. According to the Associated Press, Chauvin has previously been involved in two police shootings and has had 17 complaints filed against during his 19-year career.

Floyd’s death, on top of the many cases of police killings of people of colour, has sparked widespread protests in Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles and Memphis.

More: Amazing Grace, andrea jenkins, George Floyd, Minneapolis, police brutality, press conference

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