Honoring George Floyd, Alabama Man Nears End of 1,000 Mile Walk

An Alabama man who is walking 1,000 miles to Minneapolis in honor of George Floyd will complete his march on Sunday.

Terry Willis started walking from his home in from Huntsville, Alabama, toward the Minnesota city on June 2 after seeing the widely shared video of Floyd's death.

The video showed Floyd, a Black man, gasping for air as a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes on May 25.

That officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter while three other officers who were also involved in his death are also facing charges. All four officers were fired by the Minneapolis police department in the wake of Floyd's death.

"As a Black father who raising a Black son, I feel like am obligated to do my part in making a change and better future for my son," Willis wrote on Facebook before starting his journey six weeks ago.

Since then, he has been live-streaming his march for "change, justice, and equality" daily on his Facebook page.

Along the way, the 35-year-old has taken detours—including to Ferguson, Missouri to honor Michael Brown and to Houston, Texas, to pay his respects to Floyd at the cemetery where he was laid to rest. Willis has also joined protests against police brutality and racism that Floyd's death triggered across the country.

Willis is expected to reach the end of his walk at the spot where Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on Sunday.

"This has been a long long long journey," he told KARE11 after arriving at the Clientele Barbershop in north Minneapolis on Saturday.

Willis added that systemic racism had cost Black people in the U.S. their lives for too long.

"I've been arrested over 100 times, I've been tased, I could've been George Floyd," he told the station. "We all know that we need change in this world, and it's sad that it's taken this long and this many murders for us all to start doing something."

A GoFundMe fundraising page for the march has raised more than $37,000 so far.

In a post on Facebook, Willis said all the proceeds from the campaign will go towards starting a nonprofit organization focused on on "teaching individuals with a criminal history and juvenile delinquents a trade—from barbering to carpentry."

He wrote: "My organization will teach these individuals a trade that will subsequently allow them to open their own business and employ others.

"Society has made individuals with a criminal history and juvenile delinquents feel like they do not deserve a second chance," he added, but the planned nonprofit would be "committed to ensuring that people that society gave up on are given an equal opportunity to turn their lives around by learning a trade."

George Floyd
Terry Willis's 1,000-mile walk from Huntsville, Alabama to Minneapolis, Minnesota will end on Sunday at the spot where George Floyd was killed. Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images