Pam Robinson and Chaquitha Nelson, who grew up with George Floyd in Houston’s Third Ward, were among the thousands of visitors to pay their respects at Floyd's visitation in southwest Houston on June 8.
They arrived at The Fountain of Praise at 8:30 a.m. June 8 to pass out water and support family and friends of Floyd, who died May 25 while being detained by a police officer in Minneapolis.
“It’s hard when it’s somebody you know,” Robinson said. “We grew up with him, so just wanted to be here in the presence of what’s going on.”
Robinson, who is about four years older than Floyd, said growing up he was someone she would hang around in the neighborhood with.
“One thing about Floyd, he was a good person,” Robinson said. “He took some wrong turns, but he never did [anything to anybody]. He never was a troublemaker. He made some bad decisions, but he was a good guy. He always spoke to the young generation and told them not to make the same mistakes he made. He was a motivating person.”
Nelson said she remembers Floyd always wanted to be someone and tried his hand at many activities.
“He always wanted to be something,” Nelson said. “He tried to do everything—he got into music, football, basketball; he was a mentor.”
Robinson said she first saw news of Floyd’s death on TV but did not recognize him.
“Somebody called and told me it was him,” Robinson said. “I was looking at the news and I was like, ‘Why would they do something like that?’”
Robinson and Nelson said when they went inside The Fountain of Praise to pay their respects at Floyd's open-casket visitation, he looked the way they remembered him growing up.
“He looked the same,” Robinson said. “He looked like when we was growing up. He looked good in his casket; it’s just unbelievable.”
Robinson said she believes police stations with “bad cops” should be shut down and that there is still work that needs to be done. Robinson, who has a 16-year-old son, said she tells him things like not to wear a hoodie outside and not to dig in his pockets for his phone if he is stopped by the police.
“There needs to be a change all around the world,” Robinson said. “We’re tired of being scared to go places. We’re tired of having to tell our sons what to do before they leave home. Our kids shouldn’t be growing up to be scared.”
Nelson said she hopes to see justice brought to all who have had their lives taken.
“I would like to see justice for everyone that has had their life taken from them,” Nelson said.
Robinson said she hopes the conversations happening now continue to happen.
“It’s making a change, so I hope it continues and we don’t just stop here or stop tomorrow,” Robinson said. “I hope this continues to go on and make a change around the whole world so everybody can live freely.”