It is a holiday weekend here in the US ahead of Memorial Day. It falls on the last Monday in May and is traditionally seen as the official start of the summer season.

The federal holiday honours members of the military who died while serving in the US armed forces.

Last year, the day became associated with another death.

On Memorial Day 2020, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds.

On a video filmed by a by-stander, Mr Floyd could be heard pleading for his life and uttering his dying words: "I can't breathe".

The footage went viral and sparked a global protest movement demanding an end to racial injustice and police brutality.

Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on the neck of George Floyd

Covering the Black Lives Matter protests last year, I was struck by the fact that it was not just members of the African American community who were marching. The demonstrators came from all races and backgrounds.

The calls for change were never louder and the campaign for equality had a new momentum.

Some of the protests turned violent and led to looting and riots. The then US President enflamed tensions further by issues threats like: "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."

I was outside the White House on 1 June when Donald Trump ordered the clearing of protesters so he could pose for the cameras while holding a bible outside a vandalised church.

Loud bangs and smoke sent people running and screaming. It was chaos.

It was a summer of unrest in the US and it came at the height of a devastating pandemic that was claiming tens of thousands of lives and crippling the economy.

One year on, there is a new president and daily life has begun to return to normal amid a successful vaccine roll-out.

Donald Trump posing at a Washington DC church on 1 June last year

But what about racial equality and justice? After all the protests and promises of reform, has anything actually changed?

In March, the US House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Bill which would ban choke holds and no-knock warrants.

It would also establish a national police misconduct registry and remove certain legal protections for police officers.

The US President Joe Biden had wanted to sign the bill into law on the first anniversary of George Floyd's death, which fell on Tuesday.

He was unable to do so, however, as the legislation has not yet been passed by the US Senate amid disagreements between Republicans and Democrats.

Mr Biden marked the anniversary by meeting with members of George Floyd's family at the White House. After the meeting, they spoke about their hopes for real police reform.

"If you can make federal laws to protect a bird, the bald eagle, you can make federal laws to protect people of colour," Philonise Floyd, George's younger brother, said.

George Floyds family at the White House after meeting with US President Joe Biden

Passing one piece of police reform legislation will not end the systemic racism that people continue to encounter in the US, but many believe it would at least be a step in the right direction.

There were similar sentiments expressed when George Floyd's killer was convicted of murder. Those who feared that Derek Chauvin might be acquitted, welcomed the guilty verdicts.

I was outside the Minneapolis courthouse as the crowds cheered and celebrated but for some it was a bittersweet victory.

Yes, there was a sense of justice in the Chauvin case but what about all the others who had died at the hands of police and will continue to die?

Those I spoke to outside the court that night used words like "stepping stone" and a "move in the right direction". They saw the guilty verdict as a starting point rather than a turning point.

After his meeting with the Floyd family, Joe Biden said he was "hopeful" that a deal could be struck on police reform next week, after the bank holiday weekend.

Last year, Memorial Day heralded the beginning of a summer of unrest, perhaps this year it will mark the start of a season of reform.