In his first joint address to Congress, US President Joe Biden called for the nation to “root out systemic racism” and enact police reforms in the name of George Floyd.
From the floor of the House on Wednesday night, Biden recalled the words of Floyd’s daughter Gianna, who told him last year before her father’s funeral, “my Daddy changed the world.”
“After the conviction of George Floyd’s murderer, we can see how right she was — if — if we have the courage to act,” the president said. “We have all seen the knee of injustice on the neck of Black America. Now is our opportunity to make some real progress.”
Last week, a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges in Floyd’s killing. Chauvin murdered Floyd last year, kneeling on his neck for nine minutes as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.
Biden called the verdict a “step forward” when it was announced, saying of Floyd’s killing: “It was a murder in full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see systemic racism.”
In his speech to Congress Wednesday, Biden asked Americans to “come together” and “root out systemic racism in our criminal justice system.”
The president pushed for Congress to pass police reform, specifically the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which the Democratic-led House passed earlier this year. The legislation would ban police chokeholds and no-knock warrants, require data collection on police encounters and end qualified immunity.
Biden urged senators to “work together to find a consensus” and pass the legislation by the anniversary of Floyd’s death, next month on May 25.