George Floyd’s family is reflecting on his life as they prepare for the murder trial of the man who killed him.
Floyd’s sister LaTonya Floyd spoke with PEOPLE for this week’s issue about the fond memories she has of her brother. She says she taught George to sing a favorite song of theirs: the REO Speedwagon hit “Keep on Loving You.”
"We used to sing the heck out of that," LaTonya told the outlet. "The last time I talked to him on the phone, we sang 'Keep on Loving You' together. It makes me cry every time I think about it."
On Monday (March 8), officer Derek Chauvin’s trial will begin in Minneapolis. He’s been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers involved in Floyd’s death — Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng — will be tried later this summer. They face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. All parties have pleaded not guilty.
LaTonya, who’s an upholsterer in Houston, says George called her “Chief.”
“We just laughed. That was my best friend," she said. "I miss him every day."
Floyd’s five siblings launched the George Floyd Memorial Foundation with a mission is "to promote global awareness of racial injustices and provide opportunities for others to contribute to the unification of our communities."
George’s 30-year-old sister Bridgett Floyd is the foundation's president and chairwoman.
"His legacy is his spirit, his personality, his character, who he was," Bridgett Floyd told PEOPLE. "And the person that he was, we will fulfill and keep that forever alive."
The foundation provides scholarships and created an internship program at Texas A&M University-Commerce, George's alma mater. It also supports a renewed effort to ban chokeholds by federal law enforcement and create a national registry maintained by the Justice Department to document police misconduct.
"I had no idea that my brother would be someone that could make history," Bridgett says. "I'm talking about, like, a Martin Luther King history. That's deep for me to wake up to every day."
She also says George used his time for good before he was killed after his past struggles with addiction and time imprisoned for armed robbery.
"If you don't have a past, you can't learn," she says. "My brother went out and spoke to kids on the block, took kids to get baptized, did speaking engagements at basketball, at the gyms. He had already been down a road that he didn't want to go down anymore, and when he saw kids on the block making the craziest decisions, he felt like he needed to do something about it. That's just who he was."
Read the full PEOPLE cover story here.
BET has been covering every angle of the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and other social justice cases and the subsequent aftermath and protests. For our continuing coverage, click here.
(Photos by RYAN M. KELLY/AFP via Getty Images & by JACQUELYN MARTIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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