Family and friends of George Floyd unveil a street sign in his honor at 38th St. and Chicago Ave. on the second anniversary of his murder. Credit: Ben Hovland | Sahan Journal

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Hundreds gathered Wednesday at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in south Minneapolis to celebrate and honor George Floyd’s memory on the second anniversary of his murder. Floyd’s family and friends participated in the unveiling of a street sign designating the intersection as “George Perry Floyd Square.” 

Floyd’s aunt Angela Harrelson, cousin Paris Stevens, and brother Terrance Floyd helped pull the wrapping off the new street sign, located on the intersection’s southwest corner.

George Floyd’s family celebrates after a street sign is unveiled in his memory. Credit: Ben Hovland | Sahan Journal

Floyd, 46, was murdered there on May 25, 2020 after then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes. Then-Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane helped Chauvin pin Floyd stomach-down in the street as their colleague at the time, Tou Thao, held back a crowd of bystanders who warned the officers that Floyd had difficulty breathing and had grown unresponsive.

The officers were investigating a report that Floyd had used a fake $20 bill at the nearby Cup Foods convenience store. 

Courtney Ross (center left), George Floyd’s ex-partner, holds Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s arm as they are escorted through George Floyd Square on the second anniversary of his murder. Credit: Ben Hovland | Sahan Journal

Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey and City Council Members Andrea Jenkins and Jason Chavez also attended Wednesday’s ceremony. The mayor’s presence drew yells of protest from several community members present.

Armed members of the Minnesota Freedom Fighters, a group of civilians who describe themselves as “the bridge to link the police and the community together,” escorted Frey as he walked through the square. In protest of Frey’s attendance, several activists encouraged the crowd to leave the sign unveiling and instead, to walk up Chicago Avenue to Say Their Names Cemetery. The cemetery is an art installation in a field filled with headstones that memorialize Black civilians across the country who have been killed by police.

At Say Their Names Cemetery, volunteers with the George Floyd Global Memorial passed out candles as a band played. Attendees slowly walked through the headstones.

Nurse and minister Jeanette Rupert led Floyd’s family in a prayer and moment of silence before the procession headed back to the People’s Way, a former gas station, across the street from where Floyd was killed. 

Friends and family of George Floyd pay their respects at his head stone in Say Their Names Cemetery. Credit: Ben Hovland | Sahan Journal
Nurse and minister Jeanette Rupert led Floyd’s family in a prayer and moment of silence before the procession headed back to the People’s Way, a former gas station, across the street from where Floyd was killed.  Credit: Ben Hovland | Sahan Journal

The evening finished with a libation, a ritual where community members symbolically poured water into a basin to honor the memory of the dead. Artists from the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center created an art piece to add to George Floyd’s memorial.

Artists from the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center conduct a bronze pour to create an art piece to add to George Floyd’s memorial. Credit: Ben Hovland | Sahan Journal

Jurors convicted Chauvin last year in state court of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for killing Floyd. He is serving 22 ½ years in prison. He later pleaded guilty in federal court to violating Floyd’s constitutional rights, and awaits sentencing in that case.

A federal jury convicted Kueng, Lane, and Thao in February for violating Floyd’s constitutional rights. They await sentencing in the case.

Lane pleaded guilty earlier this month in state court to aiding and abetting Floyd’s manslaughter, and agreed to a three-year prison term. Kueng and Thao are scheduled to be tried in state court in June on charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Ben Hovland was a multimedia producer for Sahan Journal.