The streets around George Floyd Square were eerily quiet the Monday after the shootings in Buffalo, New York. A single vendor hawked her wares to no one, while nearby, yet another international TV crew buttonholed a few folks to talk about what the last two years have meant to the neighborhood.
The scene was a decidedly different one than two years ago, or on the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death, or when the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict was announced, when the eyes of the world centered on the intersection of East 38th Street and South Chicago Avenue. Now, as the May 25th anniversary of the day Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis Police dawns, the square and its surrounding streets are haunted by Floyd’s image and remnants of the uprising that his homicide inspired.
Compared to the eruption of words and images that dotted Lake Street and Chicago Avenue in the springs of 2020 and 2021, much of the graffiti and street art honoring Floyd has been washed away or preserved, as have most of the planters and artwork that sprang up around George Floyd Square and surrounding blocks.
But some remain as somber reminders of Floyd’s life and death, the movement that sprang up in his name, and the two long years his adopted hometown and this country have lived through:
From the mural in the gas station parking lot across from Cup Foods:
“On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered by former Minneapolis Police Officers. This event sparked an uprising by this community in protest of systemic racism within the City of Minneapolis (the city). On May 30, 2020, police vehicles drove through the George Floyd Memorial in the middle of the night, causing the community to establish barricades to prevent vehicles from entering the intersection. On June 2, 2020, the City of Minneapolis placed cement barricades at the street entrances of George Floyd Square for pedestrian safety. For weeks, city employees and community members engaged in conversations to discuss what happens next and address the needs of the community. On August 6, 2020, city employees informed a handful of community leaders and business owners that despite no consensus, they intend to remove the barricades of August 17th. This resolution outlines demands for justice by community members who do not intend to allow the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue to open up without concrete actions of justice taken by the city.”