A year after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, his death still weighs heavily on the American conscience.
But exactly how much has changed in the past 365 days? Faith leaders and community organizers reflected on this question.
Rev. Dr. Keith Byrd, Sr. is pastor at Zion Baptist Church and president of the Baptist Convention of D.C. and Vicinity.
“It was like it just smashed into our lives," Byrd said of Floyd’s public murder and the movement that followed. "Decent people said, 'You know what, that’s wrong.' That’s the beginning of change.”
The founder and president of Black Lives Matter Fredericksburg, Anthony Footé, agreed, saying it sparked a national conversation and a national movement.
Nationwide, more than 260 police reform bills have passed since.
Virginia barred no-knock warrants and limited the use of chokeholds. Maryland repealed the law enforcement officer’s bill of rights. The D.C. Council limited the use of force by police and sped up the process of releasing bodycam footage.
But although there have been legislative victories since Floyd was killed, Footé cautioned that "a verdict is not the end all be all."
The aforementioned policies were birthed by the summer protests, but Rev. George C. Gilbert Jr., the executive director of the Center for Racial Equity and Justice, said they don’t strike at the systemic nature of the problem -- racism.
“The protest got us to this point, and we’re going to continue to protest, but right now we need policy to be changed,” he said. “Policy should bring partnership... white America has to see [racism] as a sickness."
Byrd said the extent to which things have changed is in the eye of the beholder.
“For younger people, from my vantage point, a win for them is to see a difference on the street,” he said.
Some young activists who spent much of 2020 protesting believe the mentioned legislative achievements don’t represent much change at all.
“A bill is not a victory. Victory is to not see Black people be victims of state violence,” Jamie Turner, an organizer with Total Liberation Collective DC, said.
“I don’t think much has changed because we’re still dying at a high rate,” Footé said.
Congress’ inability to pass the police reform bill that bears Floyd’s name has been another frustration. But regardless of how far these activists think the country has come or still needs to go, they all agree that change is only possible if people keep pushing.
“What keeps me focused and keeps me excited is just getting up and being in the fight,” Gilbert said.
The movement is still gaining momentum a year after the world saw George Floyd’s final moments.
"I might not even see it in my lifetime but I work hard knowing one day that it will come,” Turner said.