Concern about racial justice spiked in the U.S. after the death of George Floyd and the protests for equal rights that spread around the world in its aftermath. In June 2020, almost one in five Americans named race relations as the biggest problem facing the U.S. in a survey by Gallup. While this absolute high predictably didn’t hold, concern about the issue has remained heightened – even as the country marks the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death.
Previous to June 2020, the problem of racial injustice seemed out of focus with less than 5 percent of Americans seeing it as the country’s biggest issue. After that date, the number of Americans seeing civil rights at the heart of the nation’s struggles has averaged at 11 percent and never fell below 8 percent.
46-year-old George Floyd, who was Black, was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020. Chauvin has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the case and is awaiting sentencing. He knelt on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes as a result of which Floyd lost consciousness and died. Three more police officers who were at the scene with Chauvin are scheduled to be tried starting in August. One is white, like Chauvin, while one more is Black and another one is of Asian descent.