MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue is seemingly like any other intersection in south Minneapolis. But where those two roads meet and what happened at that spot changed not only the intersection itself, but the course of history.
“Honestly I feel chill bumps. It’s a tragic event, but it’s a learning event,” said Charles Gallon, who was at the intersection while in town from Florida.
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“This is something that God allowed to happen to change the world,” added Eliza Wesley. She goes by the nickname “Gatekeeper” given that she’s been at the intersection almost everyday since George Floyd was killed. Whether she was controlling traffic or organizing events, the location where those two streets cross is a sacred spot for her and many others. “It always plays in the back of my head that George Floyd died for a purpose. George Floyd did not die in vain,” she said.
A gloomy evening Wednesday might mirror the somber reality that what started as an arrest of Floyd and ended with his murder two years ago.
But what came of his death gives visitors at the intersection hope. Many stopped just to reflect. Other left flowers at the artwork roundabout at the center of the intersection.
“Two years ago, we said that we were gonna get justice for George Floyd. We put boots on the ground, thousands of people,” said Elizer Darris, an activist who gave many impassioned speeches at the intersection in the days following Floyd’s killing. “Hundreds of thousands of people literally flooded the entire world at a time in which we had a pandemic that had everyone shuttered in. But what we saw dictated that we had to get out and that we had to demand justice.”
What followed was a conviction of the officer who murdered him, police reform, and a cultural awakening that created connection.
“I see people of different nationalities mending together and for one cause,” Gallon said.
“We’re still taking our time trying to grow, trying to know one another, trying to trust one another,” added Wesley. “We still all in the process, it’s slowly to changing.”
As sunset approached, Floyd’s brother and aunt along with other relatives stopped by 38th and Chicago Avenue. They helped unveil new a street sign bearing Floyd’s name.
Just one more memorial at an intersection that will never be the same, just like the world around it.
“Yes we just got through unrolling George Floyd’s name in the spot where he was murdered. But we’re not done. This is just yet another step forward in the process of progress,” Darris said.