The Brass Solidarity band performs at celebration of Tekle Sundberg's life at George Floyd Square. Credit: Jaida Grey Eagle | Sahan Journal

Community members and Tekle Sundberg’s family and friends gathered at George Floyd Square late afternoon to celebrate his 21st birthday. Tekle was fatally shot by Minneapolis police on July 14 after a six-hour standoff that Tekle’s family believes was triggered by a mental health crisis.

Tekle’s life was celebrated with a performance by the Brass Solidarity* band. His family and community members including Toshira Garraway and representatives from Communities United Against Police Brutality also addressed the crowd at Chicago Avenue South and East 38th Street, where Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd in 2020. Local artist Leslie Barlow presented a painting of Tekle at the gathering. 

Tekle’s sister, Kelsey Romero, led the group in singing the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” Afterwards, she said that she wants Tekle to be remembered as a brilliant mind who cared deeply about the earth, animals, and his siblings.

Tekle was a deep thinker who had hopes and dreams of becoming a carpenter, she said. Romero described her brother as a unique and beautiful soul who stood up for others even through his own pain, and was present with others who were also struggling.

Tekle Sundberg’s sister, Kelsey Romero, far right in a white stocking cap, leads community members in singing, “This Little Light of Mine,” during a celebration of Tekle’s 21st birthday. Credit: Jaida Grey Eagle | Sahan Journal

Tekle’s mother, Cindy Sundberg, said she wants her son to be remembered as a creative, funny, and loving human.

“We’re just so proud of him,” Cindy Sundberg said. “We will miss him, and there is a hole in our family that will never be filled. I wish I could hug him and tell him I love him, and tell him to come on home for dinner.” 

Prosecutors have not said whether the two officers who shot Tekle will face criminal charges in the case.

*CORRECTION: The Brass Solidarity band’s name has been updated.


Jaida Grey Eagle is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota tribe originally from Pine Ridge, South Dakota. She is a photojournalist, producer, beadwork artist, and writer. She is a member of the Women’s...