Philly vigil held to commemorate 2 years since George Floyd’s murder

Attendees raise fists in remembrance of George Floyd on the two-year anniversary of Floyd’s murder at a vigil organized by the Labor for Black Lives Coalition outside City Hall in Philadelphia on May 25, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

“I never imagined we’d be standing here again,” Sheri Davis-Faulkner, a mother, an assistant professor at Rutgers University, and a part of the new Philadelphia Black Workers Center Project, said outside City Hall at the Labor for Black Lives Coalition’s vigil for George Floyd, two years after his murder at the hands of Minneapolis police, on May 25, 2022.

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Sheri Davis-Faulkner, a mother, an assistant professor at Rutgers University and part of the new Philadelphia Black Workers Center Project, said she spent the day outside her son’s school because it made her feel better to be close to him, at the Labor for Black Lives Coalition vigil for George Floyd outside City Hall in Philadelphia on May 25, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Sheri Davis-Faulkner, a mother, an assistant professor at Rutgers University and part of the new Philadelphia Black Workers Center Project, said she spent the day outside her son’s school because it made her feel better to be close to him, at the Labor for Black Lives Coalition vigil for George Floyd outside City Hall in Philadelphia on May 25, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Davis-Faulkner recalled marching for Trayvon Martin in 2012 and Floyd in 2020 with her son. Through tears, she said she struggled to drop her son off at school Wednesday. “My body just couldn’t be more than a mile away from him, so I dropped him off at school this morning and I just stayed in the area.”

She was one of about 50 workers who gathered in solidarity to remember Floyd and talk about policy change with members of Local 3012, Unite Here, SEIU, the Philly Student Union, and UWHP.

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The Labor for Black Lives Coalition held a vigil for George Floyd on the two-year anniversary of his murder outside City Hall in Philadelphia on May 25, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
The Labor for Black Lives Coalition held a vigil for George Floyd on the two-year anniversary of his murder outside City Hall in Philadelphia on May 25, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Members of local labor unions gathered at City Hall in Philadelphia at a vigil to mark two years since the murder of George Floyd and rally for political action for social change on May 25, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Members of local labor unions gathered at City Hall in Philadelphia at a vigil to mark two years since the murder of George Floyd and rally for political action for social change on May 25, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Workers raised fists for Floyd in silence and again when pastor Nicholas O’Rourke, organizing director of the Working Families Party, sang Sam Cook’s “A Change is Gonna Come.”

Wendell Royster, Vice President of Long Term Care with PA SEIU Healthcare and co-founder of the Labor for Black Lives Coalition (right), raises a fist in support of workers, next to home care worker with UWHP, Lolita Owens (left) at a vigil for George Floyd on the two-year anniversary of his murder outside City Hall in Philadelphia on May 25, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Wendell Royster, Vice President of Long Term Care with PA SEIU Healthcare and co-founder of the Labor for Black Lives Coalition (right), raises a fist in support of workers, next to home care worker with UWHP, Lolita Owens (left) at a vigil for George Floyd on the two-year anniversary of his murder outside City Hall in Philadelphia on May 25, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Keon Liberaty, president of Teamsters Local 3012, reflected on the uprising that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic after Floyd’s murder. Essential workers, many Black, were getting sick on the job, and some died.

“Nothing gets done until we go into the streets.” Liberaty called on organized labor leaders to rally workers to fight for more than just police accountability, but to stand up against under-funded schools, toxic buildings, and environmental racism.

Keon Liberaty, president of Local 3013, called on organized labor leaders to take people into the streets to fight for more police accountability, fully funded schools, and against environmental racism, at the Labor for Black Lives Coalition’s vigil for George Floyd outside City Hall in Philadelphia on May 25, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Keon Liberaty, president of Local 3013, called on organized labor leaders to take people into the streets to fight for more police accountability, fully funded schools, and against environmental racism, at the Labor for Black Lives Coalition’s vigil for George Floyd outside City Hall in Philadelphia on May 25, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Roman Catholic High School student Joshua Sor, a member of the Philly Student Union, was cheered when he said he was determined to see more money allocated to bettering communities in the city, rather than policing them. He said his sadness that George Floyd would never get to see his daughter grow up had turned to resentment.

Joshua Sor, a student at Roman Catholic High School, and a member of the Philly Student Union, are cheered on by other union members as he demanded more funds be given to bettering communities over policing them, at a vigil for George Floyd outside City Hall in Philadelphia on May 25, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Joshua Sor, a student at Roman Catholic High School, and a member of the Philly Student Union, are cheered on by other union members as he demanded more funds be given to bettering communities over policing them, at a vigil for George Floyd outside City Hall in Philadelphia on May 25, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

The vigil was closed in prayer, “We cherish the ability to self-determine.”

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