The intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue has been closed since last summer and filled with flowers, artwork and other items commemorating the lives of those lost to police violence. As the area reopens, city spokesperson Sarah McKenzie says crews took “great care to preserve artwork and artifacts.”
Local organizer, Steve Floyd of The Agape Movement, indicated that the decision to reopen the area to traffic was a community-based decision. Floyd told CBS Minnesota that he talked to residents in the neighborhood about reopening the area and "90% of them, said they wanted to see it open."
“We went around the community, we went door to door asking the neighbors what they felt without giving them any type of suggestion. Most of them, 90% of them, said they wanted to see it open, but said they wanted to see it open safely,” Floyd said.
“And we have done it as safely as we possibly could and we are going to remain out here after it’s over because we are going to build this community.”
Shortly after the barriers were removed, a group of demonstrators put a few of them back in place. There are residents in the area that removing the barriers would mean a return to life before the Floyd murder without meaningful change for the future. While there have been reports of violence in the area over the last year, some Minneapolis residents have seen the good that George Floyd Square has had to offer as well.
“We don’t want to deal with gun violence, but to sit there and say that a closed-off street is what’s causing gun violence is absolutely ignorant at best,” Minneapolis resident Les Bowden said.
“Now that this is gone, I don’t want everything to go back to status quo, especially with the anniversary over, the first trial over. I don’t want my kids to feel like I feel.”
At this time, it does not appear that the local police force has stepped in or intervened. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has chimed in and said that he will answer questions surrounding the matter in the coming days.
“The City’s three guiding principles for the reconnection of 38th and Chicago have been community safety, racial healing and economic stability and development for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and other communities of color. The Agape Movement brought together community leadership to begin facilitating the phased reconnection this morning, with the City playing a supportive role. We are grateful for the partnership," Frey said.
"Alongside City leadership, we have met on a regular basis with community members to discuss both the short-term path toward reconnecting this area and the long-term plan for the neighborhood with sustained investments to help restore and heal the community. The City plans to hold a press availability later today to answer questions regarding the reconnection.”
Photo Credit: Getty Images