Ruddy Roye for TIME

In the past year, COVID-19 has taken many lives, but lives have also been lost due to excessive force by the police. Attorney Ben Crump—who has always been attentive when it comes to defending families whose loved ones were killed by police—stood up to help the helpless and defend the oppressed during these trying times. Described by the Rev. Al Sharpton as “Black America’s attorney general,” Crump has worked with the families of Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor and Daunte Wright, among others who have lost loved ones. This year, he represented the family of George Floyd, whose death while in police custody in 2020 led to demonstrations around the globe. His efforts made possible a guilty verdict that he described as a “turning point in history”—a flicker of hope that the change that both the world and grieving families were calling for might be possible on a wider scale. But Ben Crump is not only a civil rights attorney—he is a human being who cares about his clients and is always there for them, even supporting them in the aftermath of his work.

Carr is an activist and public speaker; her son, Eric Garner, was killed by a New York City police officer

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