It is more than a year since George Floyd’s murder. Floyd’s choking to death by a Minneapolis police officer culminated at the Minneapolis intersection, Chicago Avenue. Renaming the site to George Floyd Square was a move to make the event and site memorable for George Floyd’s murder by a former police officer, Derek Chauvin. The act sparked a massive protest against racial prejudice. As a result, people presented artworks and flowers to the place to commemorate George Floyd’s death. However, the city community and leaders have joined hands to clear and reopen the intersection while preserving the memorials.
Sarah McKenzie, a city spokeswoman, said the event was a memorial transition exercise. McKenzie maintained that the intention was to reopen the intersection while maintaining the memorials and artworks. City workers started the activity at 4.30 a.m. by removing the flowers and artwork from the intersection. However, McKenzie stated that only the fist sculpture would remain transfixed at the midst of the roundabout. The Agape Movement, a peacekeeping organization that consists of ex-gang members, is working relentlessly to ensure the memorials remain intact. The Agape Movement senior advisor, Steve Floyd, said the intersection reopening activity would be a three-phase process. He also maintained that the street blockage has led to the ‘Black business’ deterioration. However, the Minneapolis police department did not participate in the clearing and reopening activity.
George Floyds Square is also a memorable site for Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. The two died during the events aimed to seek racial justice. Floyd Square also served as a place for celebration after Chauvin was declared guilty of Floyd’s murder. The celebration marked a great community relief and a significant victory for racial justice. The reopening incident happened after prosecutors told a judge to fasten Chauvin’s sentence to 30 years in prison. Also, prosecutors said that the four aggravating pieces of evidence to Floyd’s murder could warrant even longer sentencing. However, Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s defense lawyer, sensitized on more lenient sentencing.
Business owners and residents around the Minneapolis intersection pleaded with the city leaders to reopen the street, following violence and killing persistence around the area. For instance, Imez Wright, a Black man who worked as security near the intersection, was severely shot in March. Also, last month’s gunshot interruption during the first Floyd’s death anniversary is enough indication of violence and insecurity around the place. Jacob Frey, Minneapolis Mayor, agreed to consider the resident’s grievances. He said the intersection reopening could restore unity and a feel of peaceful reconnection.