George Floyd activists reflect on BLM movement in NYC 1 year after his murder

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A year after the death of George Floyd, many routinely describe the protests that followed last summer as a singular, racially transformative moment.

White support of the Black Lives Matter movement reached an all-time high. But what about those to took to the streets?

Those who marched and rallied to demand racial justice - have they seen evidence of fundamental change?

"The day started with me feeling like a freedom fighter," protester Guy Barfield said.

With the outlook of a freedom fighter, Barfield shot cellphone video on the streets of Manhattan as he protested the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.

"While I'm protesting, exercising my First Amendment right and trying to stand up for what I believe in, I'm met with police brutality," Barfield said.

Discouraging? Yes. Daunting? No.

Like-minded freedom fighters across the city and around the globe also cried out to demand social justice.

And that's when the Black Lives Matter movement hit a fever pitch with demonstrations on all seven continents, with an estimated 15 to 26 million people taking part.

Barfield was asked if he saw any parallels with the Civil Rights movement and the Black Lives Matter movement.

"I believe this is the second coming of the Civil Rights movement," Barfield said.

A year ago, support for BLM was at 62%. Today, it has dropped to 55%.

On the flip side, last year support of local police was 56% but has since jumped up to 69%.

The shift is attributed in part to police reforms enacted since Floyd was murdered.

"What happened to George Floyd is the result of systemic oppression, right? So if you remove police brutality tomorrow, we are still facing a housing crisis, we are still impoverished," said Hawk Newsome with Black Lives Matter NYC.

As for Barfield, he is continuing his fight in the courts, with a class action lawsuit against the NYPD for excessive force.

And Newsome remains on the front lines as the freedom fight rages on.

"There are signs of great hope, and there are signs there is much more work to do," Barfield's attorney Mohammed Gangat said.

ALSO READ | NYC marks 1 year since murder of George Floyd with solemn observances, protests
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Crystal Cranmore reports on one year since the murder of George Floyd.

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