KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — George Floyd’s closest friends, including former NBA star Stephen Jackson, were in Kalamazoo Saturday afternoon to lead a march in honor of their loved one who was killed at the hands of police.
Although not related by blood, Jackson and fellow guest of honor Milton “Po Boy” Carney considered Floyd to be a brother.
The two have helped lead demonstrations across the country after Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in May sparked a national movement against police brutality and racial injustice.
Saturday’s demonstration called “Let Our Voice Be Heard” began with a rally at Bronson Park where Jackson and Carney both addressed the crowd.
“He would of loved y’all,” Carney said about Floyd. “Y’all would’ve loved him. Y’all are standing for a righteous person.”
After they spoke, Jackson and Carney joined the hundreds of protesters in a peaceful march through the streets of downtown Kalamazoo.
As he marched, Jackson told News 8 it’s his grief that drives him.
“This is my real pain,” he said. “This is not a photo op, this is not an act. I lost my earthly twin, somebody that’s the closest that could ever be a twin to me. So, I couldn’t do nothing. I felt helpless, all I could do was use my voice, so that’s what I’m doing.”
Jackson’s message inspired many in attendance.
“I think one of the biggest things I took away from what he said was that we invest a lot in buildings and stuff like that in our communities. But what we need to start investing in is in the people of our community because that’s where the change is going to start,” said protester Corey Person.
Although Jackson became famous during his 14 years playing in the NBA, he is now using that platform to make a difference, demanding equality and love for all.
Jackson said Floyd’s death has forever changed the legacy he hopes to leave behind.
“I know change is bigger than anything I could ever do in my life and I don’t want my brother’s name to go in vain,” he said. “If his name is going to be the name of change, then I’m going to die behind that and die trying to make that happened.”
Jackson and Floyd are scheduled to make appearances in Flint and Detroit in the coming days.