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British photographer’s campaign to mark anniversary of George Floyd’s death

929 billboard in Lambeth, London, marking the two year anniversary of George Floyd’s death. (Chris O’Donovan)
929 billboard in Lambeth, London, marking the two year anniversary of George Floyd’s death. (Chris O’Donovan)

A British photographer has set up a campaign to mark the two-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd.

Cephas Williams’ 929 campaign, featured on billboards around London, will pay tribute to Mr Floyd and continue the conversation around systemic racism.

929 billboard in Lambeth, London, marking the two year anniversary of George Floyd's death.
929 billboard in Lambeth, London, marking the two year anniversary of George Floyd’s death (Chris O’Donovan)

A virtual vigil, organised by Mr Williams, will be held at 9.29am on Wednesday to draw attention to the time it took for Mr Floyd to be killed.

Mr Williams told the PA news agency: “Nine minutes and 29 seconds was revealed as the time it took for George Floyd to lose his life.”

Mr Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020 by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on his neck despite him saying multiple times “I can’t breathe”.

The news of Mr Floyd’s death was particularly poignant for Mr Williams as it happened the day before his son, Zion, was due to be born.

It inspired Mr Williams to pen a letter to his son to outline his goal of working towards dismantling systemic racism through his organisation, Black British Network.

In the letter, Mr Williams wrote: “My concern is that if we stand by and do not take brave & tangible steps forward at this crucial time of awakening, then by the time you are my age, maybe you will be writing a letter like this to your son or daughter.

“I simply cannot stand by and let that happen.

“This is not the type of world I want to leave behind for you, so I will do my best to change it.

“So, as well as becoming a father, I have become a custodian of the future – our future – and I share this responsibility with all of my peers.”

Since its release in 2020, Letter to Zion has been signed by 44 executives who have committed to supporting the conversation to drive toward systemic change for black people in the UK.

Mr Williams said: “The reason I am able to talk about this now is because I have a billboard by the side of me and I have a position of influence.

“This is part of what we need to engineer out, I shouldn’t have to activate it in this way.

“The very nature of life means there will always be hope, (but) I feel like sometimes the conversation of hope is a copout for leaders to do altruistic things.

“I think it is less about hope and more about healing.”

To find out more about the 929 campaign visit www.cephaswilliams.com/929