Newark, New Jersey Mayor Ras Baraka is set to unveil a 700-pound statue honoring the life of George Floyd and the protest movement that followed his murder. Officials close to Baraka say that the statue will remain in front of City Hall for at least one year.
“The artwork honors the life of George Floyd, an African-American man who was brutally murdered by a white Minneapolis police officer,” a statement from the mayor's office reads.
“Mr. Floyd’s death elevated the Black Lives Matter movement which has resulted in an international response, including protests, police reform measures, and the removal of Confederate statues from public parks and racist names from organizations.”
Baraka's statue unveiling will also feature filmmaker Leon Pickney and sculptor Stanley Watts, who worked hand-in-hand to put together this statue. In addition, the trio will use the state unveiling ceremony as a way to commemorate Juneteenth.
Just days away, Juneteenth honors the day that the last group of enslaved citizens was formally informed that President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation. This year's celebration has a bit of extra energy as the United States Senate has just passed a bill that would make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
Within the state, there will be a number of Juneteenth celebrations. The city is hosting a march and rally to advocate for the creation of a reparations task force. In addition, the Newark Museum of Art will host virtual dance class and a discussion about George Floyd's legacy.
This weekend's events will kick off today at 2:30 p.m. as Baraka, Pickney and Watts are set to unveil the large piece of artwork in the state's largest city. The event will be streamed through the city's official Facebook page as well.