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READ: The most powerful, emotional quotes from some of those who paid their respects to George Floyd Monday

HOUSTON – From Houstonians, to those who drove hours from other corners of Texas, thousands paid their respects Monday at a public memorial for George Floyd at The Fountain of Praise Church in southwest Houston. Some knew George Floyd. Many didn’t. But everyone said his story resonates.

Here are thoughts from some who attended:

“If (George Floyd) was told he would have to sacrifice his life to bring the world together, knowing him, I know he would have did it," Rodney Floyd said. He and his brother Philonise “PJ” Floyd spoke outside the public memorial for their brother George Monday evening.

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PHOTOS: See images from Monday’s public memorial in Houston for George Floyd

“You are paying your respects but the most respect you can pay is to help this family,” said Gwen Carr. “This is what I tell this family. Don’t stop fighting. We all have to keep fighting.” Carr is the mother of Eric Garner, another man who was killed by a white police officer in 2014. His last words, like George Floyd, were also “I can’t breathe.”

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“It’s just a glorious and emotional time,” said Debra Baines, whose family knows the Floyd family. “George Floyd made this country better. He brought people together that you wouldn’t even think would protest,” Baines continued.

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“It’s so important for all people to be together as a unit so we can actually make a change because as far as I’m seeing it, the same thing repeats itself. It his the media. It goes wide. And then it dies down. We don’t need to let it die down,” said Darreon Jones.

‘Just hurts a lot': George Floyd’s brothers, Rev. Al Sharpton, Ben Crump and families of other victims give emotional speeches at public memorial

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“We have 20 grandchildren and we have a whole lot of grandsons, so we’re just praying everything will go well. The outcome of this should be for a better result. It’s from a good reason that things be done properly / and the change will be made from law enforcement and anybody in high capacity can help make a change for the better,” said Donald Rugely, who drove from Austin with his wife, Stella.

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“How honored he was and how much he was loved and respected. He was not just anybody — he was somebody,” Stella Rugely said.

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“If you got kids, speak to your kids. Speaking to turn about the real stuff. Kids are real smart. They’ll tell you what they want or ask you different questions. Just answer their specific questions,” said Carlos Wilkerson, a teacher for over twenty years.

RELATED: Houston City Councilwoman proposes major changes to Houston police as calls for defunding police grow nationwide

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“The whole world is watching; so, something is going to come out of it, right? I was standing in line, it was so hot, I was dripping sweat, right, and I thought about the other people before me and what they’ve done in the sweat in the conditions and I was like I gotta do this, get into it,” said Donald Kuykendall.

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“It was very personal for me and for us because we are from this community, George Floyd is from Houston; so, it’s personal to me because especially from Houston, all black ppl are like my brothers and sisters. When I looked at him I saw my brothers. I saw my boyfriend. I saw future black son, so it was very just sad and heartbreaking to see because that could be anyone of us,” said Laneka McLean.

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“It’s important moving forward that the nation as a whole sees what happened and they understand the severity of what happened and why the people are protesting and trying to push for change,” said Chidera Ogwu.

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DETAILS: What you need to know about George Floyd’s funeral Tuesday

“Y’all keep fighting and we’ll keep winning,” said Attorney Chris Stuart. “The moment y’all move on with your lives, this is over.”

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“Derek Chauvin was not the one who killed George Floyd,” said attorney Antonio Romanucci. “It was the Minneapolis Police Department. It was the individual police officers. It was the unions that supported all of them. That is who killed George Floyd.”


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