The Job No One Wants To Have

Activist families, so often seen as advocates… we should not forget tragedy is why we know their loved ones' names: Bothem Jean, Atatiana Jefferson and Jordan Edwards.

Video Transcript

- So often seen as advocates, we should not forget that tragedy is why we know their loved one's name. Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Jordan Edwards, and that's just right here in North Texas. Often, those families go on to channel their grief into calls for change. And yet, as our Robbie Owens reports, it is a job that no one wanted to have.

- What's his name?

ROBBIE OWENS: For the families of those who die at the hands of police--

ALISSA CHARLES-FINDLEY: You get the call and your life immediately changes.

ROBBIE OWENS: Life-altering loss often launches them into positions for which no one applies: grief-fueled social activism.

ALISSA CHARLES-FINDLEY: You have no choice, because immediately you have to start that fight. You're fighting everyone, you're fighting a system. You have to get justice for your loved one. And in the-- while all of this is happening, you meet other families, so you support other families.

ROBBIE OWENS: Allison Jean calling them the "involuntary club," but also grieving comforters.

ALLISON JEAN: Last year, while we were trying to grapple with COVID-19, there I was, still grieving with Ahmaud Arbery's mom, with Breonna Taylor's mom, just with George Floyd's family. So many, I just stopped counting.

PHILONESE FLOYD: This is bigger than my brother now. We have to make a statement, we have to be heard.

ROBBIE OWENS: Earlier this year, I spoke with George Floyd's brother, Philonese, in Dallas, speaking at TBAAL's annual civil rights concert.

PHILONESE FLOYD: You have to understand, the day of his funeral, I flew the same day, that I had to speak at Capitol Hill. And I never really had the time to grieve.

ROBBIE OWENS: The family's activism on display from Capitol Hill to the Texas State House.

ALLISON JEAN: "Bo's Law" is not for Bo.

ROBBIE OWENS: Determined to leverage their pain into systemic change--

PHILONESE FLOYD: I just don't want this to happen to anybody else. So if I have to keep fighting, that's what I'm going have to do, because too many people have died. Too many. His death would not be in vain.

ROBBIE OWENS: --that could one day spare others.

ALLISON JEAN: Every single Dallas police officer has to say his name. Yeah? Where do you work? What's your address? 555 Botham Jean Boulevard.

ROBBIE OWENS: And yet even the victories remind us that the heartache endures.

ALISSA CHARLES-FINDLEY: But I miss my brother. I want him back.

ROBBIE OWENS: Robbie Owens, CBS 11 News.

- A lot of heartache there.