One year ago, on May 25, 2020, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. Fellow officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng aided and abetted the killing. Footage of the men holding Floyd down and failing to help as Chauvin knelt on his neck sparked a global outcry, still echoing today. To mark the anniversary of his death, members of Floyd’s family and community are coming together to host “Rise & Remember,” a day to celebrate Floyd’s life.
Events will run from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Central Daylight Time on May 25, 2021, and will include community art, a concert, and a candlelight vigil. All activities are free and will take place at George Floyd Square: 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, South Minneapolis, MN. Whether or not you can attend, there are ways you can support this important memorial celebration.
About the Host
The George Floyd Global Memorial is a nonprofit co-founded by Lead Caretaker Jeanelle Austin and members of Floyd’s family: aunt Angela Harrelson and cousin Paris Stevens. You may remember Austin from our feature on her joy-centered approach to racial justice, which can be felt throughout the memorial space in the ways it uplifts and empowers the local community.
As described on the organization’s website, people from all over the world bring offerings to the memorial, as a way to “stand in solidarity for racial justice, express their pain and hope, and pay respect to the names of people who died unjust deaths.”
A steady flow of artwork, letters, candles, flowers, teddy bears and cardboard signs accumulate each day. George Floyd Global Memorial volunteers tend to each item, gathering, organizing and repairing them. The volunteers also maintain the surrounding streets of George Floyd Square, which has become a site for COVID-19 testing and a space to share food and supplies. Out of the memory of violence and pain, the community comes together to heal one another through youth programs and events like the upcoming day of remembrance.
All who are willing and able to attend are welcome at 1 p.m. for free food, a healing space, community art and a children’s area. A program of arts demonstrations and an open-mic is scheduled all afternoon.
At 6 p.m., attendees will be treated to a concert by three-time Grammy Award-winning group Sounds of Blackness. The concert will feature special guests and will be a time to honor Floyd’s family and all Minnesota families impacted by injustice. At 8 p.m., there will be a candlelight vigil.
From now through Juneteenth, there is also a special exhibit at the Nokomis Gallery, titled “Still Here … Unstolen. Unbroken.” It is described as a “rememory experience,” which allows visitors to engage with the offerings for George Floyd.
How You Can Help
If you are unable to attend but want to show support to the Minneapolis community, there are three easy ways to do so:
1) Donate a set of LED candles from the organizer’s Amazon wishlist. During the candlelight vigil, these will be used to light up George Floyd’s Memorial, the memorials of other community members, the Mourning Passage, the Say Their Names cemetery installation, and the fist at the center of the intersection.
2) Donate funds to help cover the cost of feeding people. In regards to the event, Austin shares, “In honor of the way the people came together during the Minneapolis Uprising to care for one another, our desire is to feed the community so that families who come to participate in the events do not have to worry about the cost of food. Providing food for the thousands of people that plan to attend will cost us over half our $150,000 budget for the event.”
3) Promote the event. Let people know that the community is still there, continuing the fight for racial justice at George Floyd Square. Amplify how they are telling their own stories through the building of this memorial — for and by the people. Follow the George Floyd Global Memorial on social media (@gfgmemorial) and share their posts.
Mochi magazine’s Black Allyship @ Mochi column is an ongoing project that urges an awareness of racial injustice in the United States, particularly the oppression of Black people in America. The articles, resources and opinions we share are a call to action, an open discussion, and a place to take a stance against anti-Black racism. Read more about the column here.
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Cover photo credit: munshots//Unsplash
Last modified: May 24, 2021