Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis Misses a Golden Opportunity to Heal Cultural Divides as it Removes George Floyd Memorial

Robert Turner

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George Floyd MemorialTwitter

Crews arrived early this morning with no prior notice to any of the family of George Floyd with clear instructions. Remove the now-iconic memorial that was set up to commemorate the death of George Floyd at the intersection in Minneapolis.

It took the crews less than four hours to clear the barriers, artwork, flowers, and other items from 38th Street and Chicago Avenue where George Floyd was killed, informally known as George Floyd Square. City spokeswoman Sarah McKenzie said a fist sculpture, which stands several feet tall, will remain.

Perhaps the right course of action here would have been exactly the opposite. To build out and make permanent what has become a landmark to a historical event in the city’s timeline. The issues that led to Floyd's death are still raw within the local community and the Goerge Floyd memorial represents more than just a marker to the death of yet another African American at the hands of law enforcement.

The Floyd memorial had become a beacon of hope, underscored by a landmark decision in the courts that found against the police officers involved in the incident. Moments in a trial that won't soon be forgotten, a police chief sticking to the letter of the law, intent on upholding the dignity of life, any and all life, whose testimony played a key part in the jury’s final decision.

Across the country, people viewed the Floyd Memorial as a sign of hope and the possibility of real change. Minneapolis officials apparently didn't see it in quite the same way and chose to remove it, despite an undertaking from the Minneapolis mayor. Mayor Frey had previously said the place where George Floyd was murdered would “never be driven on again”.

Minneapolis has missed a golden opportunity to mend fences in their community, to underscore the value of all their city's citizens, and they may yet come to rue their decision. Around 4:30 this morning nearly a hundred city workers showed up to open the square to vehicles, clearing barricades that had been set up by protesters and adding new barricades to the memorial. A day's work and all traces of George Floyd, bar the fist, will be removed from the intersection where the tragedy occurred.

Twitter responses show a growing wave of anger over the sudden and unannounced removal of the memorial.

Frey and other city leaders pledged to reopen the intersection, but activist leaders said they wouldn’t step aside unless the city met their 24 demands. Among them: recall the county prosecutor, fire the head of the state’s criminal investigative agency, and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on programs to create jobs, combat racism, and support affordable housing.

The memory of George Floyd and the trauma people in Minneapolis have lived through in the last year won't be whitewashed with a few bags of cement and a coat of fresh paint and protesters have been vocal on the issue. Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the removal of the memorial was an attack on Floyd’s legacy.

“This space is a space that has now become a national memorial, a national memorial for victims of police violence all over this world,” Hussein said during a news conference. “We will not give up this space, We will save it for George Floyd.”

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A founder of Medika Life, We are driven to providing actionable and accurate health information for patients and professionals. We pride ourselves on highlighting patient needs and issues that directly impact access to care. I travel frequently and divide my time between Asia, England, and the US. Health fanatic, tech addict, and occasional surfer.

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