Myron Medcalf
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Selwyn Jones counts the days.

On Saturday, it will be 1,461 days.

That's exactly four years since Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd — Jones' nephew — on May 25, 2020.

Two weeks before Floyd left this world, he and Jones bonded over greasy catfish and sauced-up wings at A&J Fish & Chicken on Lake Street. An employee who knew the duo — Jones owns a motel in South Dakota and made trips to see his "big sister's baby boy" in Minneapolis — said he'd see them again soon.

"Later, he told me, 'Little did I know, he wouldn't be back with you,'" Jones recalled. "Me and George used to go there and eat, man."

Four years ago, the world changed through Floyd's murder and his story. And while a collection of devoted individuals continue to uphold his life and legacy through their efforts, organizations and testimonies, we have reached a crucial stage.

Today, Floyd's name, once echoed through a proverbial megaphone across the Twin Cities, has for some faded to a whisper. Floyd is now part of a traumatic past that feels like a memory more than a movement.

But Jones has a message for those who wonder what more they can do, four years later.

"Get moving, brotha," he told me. "A lot of people are going, 'OK, what do we do?' Do something. Do something. Use this for fuel, so it'll never happen to anybody else again."

Jones has turned his nephew's death into kerosene for a lamp that burns for progress and justice. He is a walking Rolodex with connections to the mothers, fathers, siblings and friends of others who have lost loved ones to police brutality and violence.

He recently met with the family of Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed in 2020 by a white father and son who saw Arbery running through their neighborhood in Georgia. Greg and Travis McMichael recently asked a federal appellate court to throw out their hate crime convictions.

Jones flew to Georgia in support of Arbery's family, which has contested that request. There have also been recent trips to Chicago, Cleveland and Louisiana, all to continue his work as an advocate for families devastated by police misconduct.

And last month, he spoke at Harvard to advocate for the passage of the Medical Civil Rights Act, a bill in Massachusetts that would establish a right to emergency medical care during police interactions.

"Man, it's pretty simple," Jones said. "There isn't a buffer in between them approaching you and killing you. But the Medical Civil Rights [Act] would basically state that if somebody yells, 'I can't breathe, my back hurts, my head hurts,' you have to restrain them … and get them medical assistance in a timely fashion. So that watching my nephew with [Chauvin] with a knee on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, then another 10 minutes until the [paramedics arrived], you would be charged for that."

I agreed to write this column four years ago because I wanted to do my small part to ensure Floyd's legacy — and the issues connected to his murder — would be discussed in a community full of folks who were reluctant to address racism.

But there was another reason. Floyd's daughter was just 6 years old when he was murdered. And I owed it to her, I believed, to help keep his name alive. I asked Jones about her when we talked this week.

"She's doing fine, man," he said. "She's got a good support system around her."

On the four-year anniversary of the murder of that little girl's father, I think it's prudent to not only question our commitment to Floyd's legacy but to also remember the lives affected by his absence.

Jones was at a softball game enjoying the Memorial Day weekend when it happened. That afternoon, he thought he was following the coverage of another Black man who'd been killed by police, this time in Minneapolis.

"I had just gotten over watching Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and I'm still mad, you know?" Jones said about following the news that day. "It's like, 'Why in the world are they killing another black dude, man? When is this gonna stop?'

"And little did I know that five seconds later, I would find out that that was my big sister's baby boy that I was looking at."

One of the worst days of his life has catapulted him and others into a spotlight he's using to demand change.

Recently, Jones celebrated his 58th birthday, 12 more years than Floyd got to live. Jones remains energized to advocate for systemic change to help other families avoid the tragedy he has endured.

Four years after Floyd's murder, Jones continues to fight.

Because he refuses to forget.

"I remember the good days, you know?" he said. "I remember hanging out with him. I still remember his life. I still have the phone where I can look at it and see where he last texted me, 'Happy Birthday, Unc,' four years ago."