MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)George Floyd is known around the world because of the way he died. But on Thursday, people celebrated the way he lived.

Thursday would have been his 48th birthday, and people in the community marked the occasion with a celebration and remembrance of his life at East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in south Minneapolis — which in a way is the epicenter of the global movement for police accountability and justice.

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The focus Thursday was to recognize the impact Floyd’s life made on the world, beyond the tragedy of his death. The atmosphere earlier in the night was in a way reminiscent of a block party-type celebration. Music, food and fellowship was followed by a more somber candlelight vigil.

“I think this is more than just a birthday. I think that with George Floyd brings to not just to the city of Minneapolis but to the world globally, I think this is just more of a celebration of life,” said Minneapolis resident Michael Smith. “I really think the focus this evening should be just revisiting and revitalizing our community, bringing people back outside and bringing joy into the community.”

(credit: CBS)

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“That’s what this place is all about is holding space and feeling the gravity of the movement for Black liberation and equality in our justice system,” said Kimberly Wooster, a medic with 612 M*A*S*H.

“Find a path towards healing and run towards it. Find a path towards community and run towards it, because what we’ve found in this movement and in this protest is that community is the answer to racism,” said Jeanelle Austin of Racial Agency Initiative.

Of course, the journey to get justice for George is not over. The trial for the other former officers involved is scheduled for March. All four former officers face federal civil rights charges.

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Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is serving a 22-year sentence for Floyd’s death. He is in the process of appealing the case.

Erin Hassanzadeh