Milwaukee residents weigh in on social justice as Floyd laid to rest: 'Hopefully, we will see change'

MILWAUKEE -- "I can't breathe."

Those words continue to ring in the heads of many. The death of George Floyd has sparked not only anger about the treatment of black people, but also love and unity that needs to happen in communities across the U.S.

A mural is just one way Floyd's life and what it stands for is being remembered in Milwaukee.

Gaulien "Gee" Smith

Gee's Clippers, one of the cornerstones of Milwaukee's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, is known for its positive role in the community and the impact it has on black men with the initiatives that go on in the barbershop.

"Trying to be that heartbeat in the community," said Gaulien "Gee" Smith, owner of Gee's Clippers. "I am trying to fill that void trying to be that resource."

On Tuesday, June 9, eyes were on the screen as the man whose death sparked protests across the world was laid to rest.

Davaughn Patterson

"All the other races seeing what we have to deal with," Davaughn Patterson said. "It's very sad, but overall I just think awareness...that's going to help tremendously."

Floyd died as a since-fired Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on Floyd's neck. His death fueled protests against police brutality.

During his funeral Tuesday, many took a pause and share their thoughts.

"I have mixed emotions, definitely sad because you have a father that was lost a brother that was lost, you have an uncle that was lost a friend, cousin," said Smith. "It's definitely disheartening...but the joy I see in this funeral is the impact, the positive impact that this funeral, this man's life will mean for decades, for years to come.

"All lives can't matter until black lives matter."

Ivy McGregor reads a resolution during the private funeral for George Floyd at The Fountain of Praise church on June 9, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Godofredo A. Vásquez - Pool/Getty Images)

Smith supports the movement and hopes heavy hearts can turn their pain into purpose.

"Hopefully, we will see change. Hopefully, we will see different laws in place, law enforcement taking different actions in how they do business and how they make arrests," Smith said.

Feelings of sympathy and empathy were also shared with one another on Tuesday. When it comes to racism and social injustice, put yourself in someone else's shoes and realize what they are going through.