The location of George Floyd’s death has transformed into a memorial site full of gardens, tributes, murals and messages of grief, hope and remembrance. The site spans multiple blocks down Chicago Avenue and East 38th Street in South Minneapolis, allowing people to visit the memorial site safely while social distancing because of COVID-19.
Luna and Mike from the Twin Cities stand next to the 12-by-12 mural created by graffiti artist and educator Peyton Scott Russel. The couple had visited the memorial the night after Floyd’s death and decided to come again a month later to pay respects. Luna said, ‘’I hope that coming is not just a mark off the checklist for white people. It’s good to see a steady stream of people coming to the memorial. Hopefully the energy for systemic change continues.’’ Mike paused as he observed the sights and sounds of the memorial site. He said, ‘’It’s peaceful, and grounding. There is life in the place that George Floyd was murdered.’’
Lloyd’s Pharmacy was one of more than 400 businesses that were destroyed during the riots in the days following George Floyd’s death May 25. Although some buildings only sustained broken windows or minor damage, many like Lloyd’s Pharmacy were burned to the ground after being ransacked. Weeks after the riots, the rubble remains. The small, old-fashioned pharmacy served thousands in the Twin Cities area since 1918. It supplied specialty prescriptions to patients who needed medications that were not available commercially. Within days of its destruction, loyal customers and community members had raised $60,000 to rebuild the pharmacy. Now, that number has nearly doubled.
For three days following Floyd’s death, buildings along Lake Street like Cash N Pawn (pictured) suffered some of the worst damage from fires and looting. The weekend following the riots, a dozen National Guard vehicles and personnel stood watch as community members poured in to clean, sweep and provide donations to neighborhoods that suddenly lost access to essential needs. Hundreds milled around, cleaning debris and handing out water. Some gathered to listen to speakers, others looked on into the smoky aftermath of the burned buildings. Now, more than a month later, Lake Street is quiet, except for the bustle of construction workers and passing cars. Although commercial restoration companies are working to rebuild businesses, Lake Street has been forever changed.
A restoration worker carries debris from a building on Lake Street in Minneapolis. Colorful murals and messages of peace, justice, and healing now cover the plywood boards that businesses used in an attempt to protect their property.
Graffiti-covered cement barricades surround the abandoned 3rd Precinct Minneapolis police station. The four officers involved in George Floyd’s death worked at the 3rd Precinct, which is located 2 miles north of the incident. Protestors were present at the police station the night after the video of Floyd was released. Three days later, protestors breached the gates protecting the precinct and set fires within the building. It now sits empty on Lake Street alongside dozens of other damaged stores and businesses.
A family stops to pray at the George Floyd Memorial. The family was on vacation in Minnesota when they spontaneously decided to stop by the memorial on their way home to Iowa. As the mother of seven children reflected on her experience visiting the memorial, she spoke with tears in her eyes and said, ‘’I just keep thinking about how in the video, George called out for his mom. I never want to be her one day.’’
A colorful mural of George Floyd has become a central image of Floyd’s remembrance and tribute. It is painted outside Cup Foods, the location of Floyd’s death.
Lisa Dean grew up in the neighborhood where George Floyd died. Despite the trauma her community has faced, Dean sees young students as agents for positive change. ‘’This is a generational effort. It’s all about passing the baton,’’ Dean said. ‘’I’m very optimistic about the future through all this chaos. Our college (students) are the ones that are going to dictate the direction we are going in. It’s very important that they step up and get involved, without hesitation.’’ She hopes that her community will remember what her hometown has been through. ‘’You don’t want to lose the history due to the politics ... this area was once Native American, African American, but has been gentrified. It’s important to know about the background, what’s behind these pictures and why we are preserving this area for George Floyd,’’ Dean said.
A bouquet of carnations rests in a traffic cone among the myriad of floral tributes at George Floyd’s memorial.
A local from the Twin Cities named Keizo walked along the ‘Mourning Passage’, a colorful painted list of the names of people of color killed by the police. He strolled slowly down Chicago Avenue, carefully reading each one. ‘’It’s sad, we were looking for a particular name of someone who was killed in Milwaukee, and we can’t find it. So this isn’t an exhaustive list,’’ he said. When asked why he decided to visit the memorial with his partner and friend, Keizo said, ‘’This is important. This matters to us.’’