About Philonise Floyd

Black and white image of Philonise Floyd on a black backgroundOn 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 worldwide 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 chokeholds, 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.

The Philonise and Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change's key principles are to advocate for all children, young adults, and families nationwide by actively working to eliminate the daily impacts of police brutality, criminal justice reform and systemic racism. They aim to find solutions to the countless challenges and pressing issues faced through injustice and work diligently alongside city and state government officials helping to look at interventions that can lead to long-term sustainability. 

Floyd will be the featured speaker at the Georgia Tech Black History Month Lecture Wednesday, Feb. 9,  2022, sponsored by the African-American Student Union, Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Student Engagement and Well-Being. Registration for the virtual event is open here.