People have many ways of honoring and respecting George Floyd in death. Almost as many ways as he was disrespected and dishonored in life. A carefully reported, in-depth telling of his life story by Star Tribune reporter Maya Rao and her team, published on December 27, honors and respects George Floyd as it tells his story, set in the matrix of life stories and stories told in interviews of 38 people who knew him.
Twitter gives 280 characters to tell a story. Facebook posts might be longer, but only a paragraph or two will show up on the front page. Newspaper opinion columns are usually limited to 800 words max. The average newspaper article is even shorter. A long-form analysis runs long at 1,200 words. “George Floyd’s Search for Salvation” clocks in at more than 15,000 words. Add to that the stunning photography, and videos, and you have a portrait of a man and his life and struggles. You also come away with a deeper understanding of the all-American disease of racism from Texas to Minnesota.
I wish that everyone could read this story. Now, in the slower time of this last week of the year, I urge you to read and meet George Floyd. And to reflect on what you and I can do to honor his memory by changing our state, country, and world.