Community members and activists reflect and call for justice on Floyd ‘angelversary’

By Cole Miska,
Minnesota Spokesperson-Recorder

Wednesday, May 25, 2022 marked two years since the murder of George Perry Floyd, Jr. by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The killing, where Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes over an alleged counterfeit $20 bill, was met with global protests and calls for police reform.

To mark the two-year celebration, the George Floyd Global Memorial is hosting “Rise and Remember,” a series of events that will take place throughout Memorial Day weekend.

Several hundred people attended the May 25 events, which included the installation of a new “George Perry Floyd Square” memorial sign on the 38e St. and Chicago Ave. where a memorial has been erected in Floyd’s honor since he was killed there on Memorial Day in 2020.

Floyd’s family members removed the fabric covering the panel to reveal the new panel to the community.

At the same time, a candlelight vigil was held at 37th and Park Avenue at “Say Their Names Cemetery,” a collection of cardboard headstones with the names of members of the BIPOC community who have been killed by police. Participants brought candles to each of the more than 100 headstones.

The final event of the night was a “community pour”, where community members were given small cups of water to pour into a container. Participants were encouraged to say words of wisdom or to think of someone they had lost in their own lives as they emptied their cups. The water collected will be used to feed the new spring plants kept in the greenhouse at George Floyd Square.

Floyd’s aunt, Angela Harrelson, gave the opening address as vigil attendees returned to the square from the “Say Their Names” cemetery.

“Even though [Floyd is] not here with us, the door is now open for change,” Harrelson said. “We’ve been on a sleeping giant – white America didn’t know he was a sleeping giant. But when he died, those doors opened. And we as brown and black Americans don’t say more, no more, no more.

“Better is not enough,” she added, citing the conditions of BIPOC communities. “We just have to make it equal.”

A bronze symbol was cast late in the night by members of the Chicago Avenue Fine Arts Center. Mileesha Smith was one of two people who cast the molten bronze in the mold of a Sankofa bird symbol.

“The real bird is flying, but the head is looking behind it,” Smith explained. “The Sankofa meaning is knowing where you’ve been, so you know where you’re going.”

The cast of the Sankofa bird will be preserved by the George Floyd Global Memorial, which was created to preserve offerings left by visitors to the plaza and organize spaces “for everyone to mourn, pay their respects and be a voice.” for justice,” according to his Facebook page. Several members of Floyd’s family serve on the organization’s board, including Harrelson.

Hiatia Gregory was one of many Twin Cities residents who attended Wednesday’s events. “I want to say thank you for being able to be here today to pay my respects to George Floyd, to be in the community today and to really spread the love,” Gregory said.

“I feel like what happened to him was a modern-day lynching,” she continued, “and I’m grateful to be here today to walk in unity, so that he did not leave in vain. We are still marching for justice, and I pray that he rests in peace.

Activists also gathered in Saint-Paul

Photo by Henry PanToshira Garraway comforts Del Shea Perry during a rally outside the Governor’s mansion to demand justice for the lives stolen by law enforcement on the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd.

Earlier in the day in Saint-Paul, about fifty people gathered in front of the Manoir du Gouverneur to demand justice for the victims of police violence.

One was Del Shea Perry, mother of Hardel Sherrell, who died in 2018 while being held in Beltrami County Jail in Bemidji, 300 miles north of Minneapolis, due to inadequate health care. received during his incarceration.

“It’s been really difficult because it’s been four years since I got real justice for what happened to Hardel,” Perry said. A federal grand jury is now investigating the case..

Activists also reiterated that their fight is only about the importance of black lives but not about neglecting the lives of others.

“It’s not white versus black. It’s not police versus community. It’s about good versus evil,” said Toshira Garraway, founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence. [was taken before George Floyd] was absolutely wrong. And all the life that was stolen after that was bad.

Henry Pan contributed to this story. Contact Pan at hpan@spokesman-recorder.com.

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