'This is just the beginning': Bay Area activists reflect 1 year after murder of George Floyd

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- After police murdered George Floyd, mass demonstrations against police violence sparked a new level of conversation about race and justice in America. One year later, ABC7 spoke to Bay Area activists, who organized many of the protests and rallies.

Akil Riley and Xavier Brown

"I continue to be grateful for what I have and what I can do and I'm not letting anything belittle me," said 20-year-old Oakland resident, Akil Riley, who describes himself as "blessed" for not being the victim of police violence.

Riley is a student at Howard University. Xavier Brown is studying acting at UCLA. Last year, the childhood friends mobilized 15-thousand people in Oakland to protest the murder of George Floyd by police. One year later, they don't feel much change.

RELATED: George Floyd protest: Here's how 2 Oakland teens mobilized 15,000 people

"It's just been very disappointing. You would think after our movement was so big that it would have improved what we've been doing, but the improvements are minimal, and you would expect them to be larger," explained Brown.

As for Derek Chauvin's murder conviction...

"If it was true justice then George Floyd wouldn't have ever died," said Brown.

"In the name of Black people, it's not a win," said Riley.

Brown says he's done a lot of spoken word pieces to raise awareness and has been busy creating films and holding fundraisers for Black organizations. Riley has also been using art as a form of activism and says he's studying to try and better understand how America works beyond political activism.

Erin Feher Montoya

San Francisco mom, Erin Feher Montoya, organized a family 'car caravan for justice' last June. Months later, police pulled her over for obstructing traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge when she was protesting Breonna Taylor's death, who was shot and killed by police.

RELATED: Peaceful protest: Car Caravan for Justice honks its way through San Francisco streets

"I think for people, especially white people who are looking for it to be fixed, I don't think we're going to see that in our lifetime, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything," said Feher Montoya.

Feher Montoya is now committed to allyship and helps run a storytelling collaborative that covers race and social justice issues.

Cynthia Adams

"I just wish people realized one thing: it's what happened to us 400 some years ago," said Oakland resident, Cynthia Adams.

Adams is a vice president of Oakland's NAACP chapter. She helped organize a gathering last year in front of Oakland City Hall to condemn racism.

She's now committed to educating people about African American history.

"Until we get that moment that people understand what really happened to us, we cannot move forward."

Adams is starting by organizing tours of historically black colleges for students in the East Bay. "We have a long way to go, this is just the beginning."

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