George Floyd’s brother bonds with Emmett Till’s cousin over shared tragedy

"We know the journey that they have been on," Deborah Watts said of Philonise Floyd and his family.

The still-grieving family members of Emmett Till and George Floyd were brought together this week in an exclusive meeting opportunity by CNN. The poignant conversation with Deborah Watts and Philonise Floyd aired Monday night on the news channel.

Watts is the cousin of Till, who was brutally murdered at 14 by white men in Money, Mississippi when she was a toddler. His 1955 death and its aftermath — including the decision of his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, to show his disfigured body in an open casket — became a pivotal moment in America’s civil rights movement.

CNN’s poignant conversation linking Emmett Till cousin Deborah Watts (left) and George Floyd’s younger brother, Philonise Floyd (right), aired Monday night on the news channel. (CNN)

Floyd is the younger brother of George Floyd, who was killed last May by former police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota by Chauvin kneeling on the 46-year-old man’s neck for over nine minutes. Chauvin is currently on trial for the slaying; the jury entered deliberations last night.

“We know the journey that they have been on,” Watts said of the Floyd family. “Our hearts are bonded, and the spirits connected.”

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“Here we are today with George Floyd,” she said. “What’s unfortunate is that there’s not much (that) has been changed. But we hold out hope that there will be. We are still fighting for justice after 66 years.”

“People should die of natural causes, not because you’re getting an overdose of a knee to someone’s neck, not because you’re beating somebody to death and dumping them in a river,” Floyd said.

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He praised the decisions of Till-Mobley, who was a civil rights activist until she died in 2003. “Emmett Till’s mom said something powerful. She said, ‘I want his casket to be opened for the world to see what they have did to my son.’ Do you know how hard it is for somebody to look at their child beaten to death? Do you know how hard it is for people to look at a person who has been tortured to death over nine minutes? It’s not right.”

The pair vowed to work together to advocate for justice for Black and brown people in America in the future. However, for Philonise Floyd, the pending Chauvin verdict is most pressing on his mind.

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“Everybody had the opportunity to see a motion cinema picture of a man being tortured to death as his life was extinguished for all the world to see” he said. “It was — it was violent. It was barbaric.”

“The video is enough,” Floyd contended. “If we can’t get justice for that, as a Black man in America, what can we get justice for?”

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