Boston Public Library Lowell Lecture - Philonise Floyd

WED, FEB 2, 2022 (1:26:57)

On May 26, 2020, Philonise O’Neil Floyd learned that four police officers in Minneapolis murdered his older brother after accusations from a store clerk George had passed a counterfeit $20 bill. The entire world saw now-convicted officer Derek Chauvin kneel on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. George Floyd’s death sparked a worldwide outpour of protests against police brutality, especially toward Black people. 

Philonise Floyd’s life was changed forever. On June 10, 2020, the day after laying his brother to rest, he testified before United States Congress. He urged them to “do the right thing” by passing the Justice in Police Act of 2020 baring choke holds, creating a registry to track officers with serious misconduct records, and lifting certain legal protections that make it difficult to prosecute officers for using excessive force. He vowed that his brother’s death would not be in vain or become another hashtag on a t-shirt and begun advocating to change systematic racism and the racist terror that has for over 400 years led to the harassment and killing of African Americans.

+ BIO: David Leonard

David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library, leads the 170-year old institution, one of Boston’s great educational, cultural and civic treasures. David began working at the BPL in 2009, bringing a wealth of experience from the technology, management and consulting fields. Appointed president by the Library’s Board of Trustees and Mayor Martin J. Walsh in June 2016, David’s focus is on developing the BPL as a twenty first century institution providing dynamic library experiences to the residents of Boston, of Massachusetts and beyond.

Prior to his appointment as President, David served as Interim President for one year. During that time he focused on the completion of the $78 million renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square, which opened in July 2016, as well as a significant number of branch and collections management improvement projects, enhancing access and the customer experience; collaborating with city departments and with local cultural institutions; and supporting Mayor Walsh’s arts and culture vision. During his time at the Boston Public Library David has also served as Director of Administration & Technology, acting Director of Administration & Finance, acting Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Technology Officer. He led the Library’s capital improvement project for the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, worked to modernize the library’s technology infrastructure - including the migration to the new Integrated Library System, and deployment of new Pay-for-Print Systems system wide - and oversaw master planning and design for the renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square.

David initially pursued an academic career, transitioned to the non-profit sector, and then spent ten years in the private IT consulting world in roles that spanned business development, management, and technology consulting, working on both strategic and tactical projects and services. David is currently enrolled in a PhD program in Library Information Science at Simmons College. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from the University College Dublin. Photo Credit: Boston Public Library

+ BIO: Philonise Floyd

On June 20, 1981, Philonise O’Neil Floyd, was the fourth child born to the late, Mrs. Larcenia “Ms. Cissy” Jones on Fort Hood army base. Raised in the Third Ward area of Houston, Texas. He attended Jack Yates High School and Texas Southern University pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice. In 2014, Floyd started his professional driving career with C. R. England one of the nation’s largest refrigerated carriers; later accepted a position with W. M. Dewy and Son, Inc. hauling custom pipes to their specific destinations.

On May 26, 2020, Floyd learned that his older brother, George “Perry” Floyd, Jr. had been murdered by four police officers in Minneapolis after a store clerk alleged that he passed a counterfeit $20 bill. The world watched as named officer, Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

Across the United States and internationally, George’s death sparked a world-wide outpour of protests against police brutality, especially toward black people. The day after laying George to rest, June 10, 2020 Philonise testified before United States Congress urging them to “Do the right thing” by passing the Justice in Police Act of 2020 baring choke holds, creating a registry to track officers with serious misconduct records, and lift certain legal protections that now makes it hard to go after officers in court for using excessive force.

Philonise’s life as a professional transporter drastically changed forever. Floyd vowed that George’s death would not be in vain, another hashtag on a t-shirt and begun to tirelessly advocate to change systematic racism and the challenges faced due to police injustice that has for over 400 years led to the harassment and killing of African Americans at the hands of police.

Partner
Boston Public Library
Series
Boston Public Library Lowell Lecture Series