LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Many people gathered Thursday in Minneapolis to honor the life of George Floyd.
The impact of his death has spread across the nation. In Southwest Louisiana, hundreds have gathered to peacefully protest the killing of George Floyd and others at the hands of law enforcement.
Two of those protesters are Lake Charles residents and close friends of Floyd, Chris and Candice Rideau.
“He was the best person you could ever meet, the biggest smile you’ll ever see," Candice Rideau said.
To the world, George Floyd’s name is a movement, a call for justice. To his friends, he was a joy.
“To be around him was a blessing because this dude never had a complaint,” Chris Rideau said.
The husband and wife met George Floyd in 2003 while living in Houston, TX. The Rideau’s said their fondest memories of Floyd was seeing him be a great father.
“He had the biggest smile on his face when he told us that Gigi was born [...] and I mean she meant the world to him," she said.
The couple attended Sunday’s peaceful protest in Lake Charles and said it means the world to see others support their friend. While it doesn’t bring their friend back, the couple said it’s a start for closure.
“The pain we feel, I couldn’t imagine [what ] his immediate family [is feeling]," she said. "So it brings a lot of peace [because] when you want to cry all you have to do is look on the TV and look at the protesters and see the people that really didn’t even know him but loved him.”
Floyd’s death sparked conversations about racism and justice in our society. Chris Rideau said these conversations, education, and sympathy are what’s needed to move forward.
“You can understand why and what we’ve been through and you know how to react," he said. "Put your foot in someone else’s shoes really and it’ll kind of help you understand where they come from.”
The couple said there is one quote that Floyd always said. “I will touch the world.” Five words that mean so much now.
“I’m thinking in his wildest dreams he would [have never] thought that he would perish the way he did but also that he would touch the world the way he did," he said.