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George Floyd video inspires Bloomfield Hills teen to continue working for change

Phoenix Williams motivated to inspire change

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – Phoenix Williams, who recorded students taunting him and calling him the N-word while on the school bus when he was an eighth-grader in Bloomfield Hills, has already inspired change in his life.

His story made headlines across the country. Phoenix said that bus ride and the impact of the incident has stuck with him, and watching the video of George Floyd’s death has motivated him to again work for change.

MORE: Metro Detroit religious leaders fight for change in our community

Phoenix captured the school bus incident on video when he was 13 years old. He’s now a freshman at Howard University, but that moment in eighth grade still shaped much of his young life.

He was taunted and called the N-word repeatedly by bullies. He said his cries for help were ignored until the video was released.

The bullies were held responsible and Phoenix helped bring about change.

READ: Gov. Whitmer, Mayor Duggan join unity march through Detroit in honor of George Floyd

But when he saw the video of Floyd being killed by police officers in Minneapolis, it brought up feelings from his past. He said he felt pain not only for himself, but for so many people in his community.

Phoenix, like many other young people, is using his voice to make a difference and to educate. He wants to use the lessons from his past to make the world better for everyone.

You can hear from Phoenix in Hank Winchester’s full video above.


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