Community gathers at George Floyd Square to mark two years since his murder

Flowers and memorials still line George Floyd Square to honor the life and legacy of Floyd at 38th and Chicago, two years after his death.

Community members dropped off fresh flowers and signs to reflect on the last two years.

A street sign that read “George Perry Floyd Square” was unveiled at the intersection Wednesday. A ceremony honoring the lives of people killed by police officers was also held at the nearby Say Their Names memorial at a green space off 37th Street and Columbus Ave. South.

Some visitors explained it’s difficult to move forward when not much has changed.

“Until people are really truly ready to look in their heart and see one another as equals, nothing’s ever going to change,” Steph Nick, George Floyd Square visitor, said.

On May 25, 2020, the world watched George Floyd take his last breath.

Floyd’s death sparked outrage from coast to coast with protesters demanding immediate change.

Two years later, some say the pace of progress is slow.

“We like to say ‘We’re post racial’ or ‘we’ve learned’ or ‘things have changed’ and I’d like to think they have, but every little tiny baby step, we go back many more steps,” Nick said. “It’s heartbreaking.”

Jeanelle Austin, George Floyd Global Memorial executive director, has seen people from all over the country step up to support the fight for Black lives.

“We have been standing and waiting on justice and we’re still working to get to the other side of justice,” Austin said. “We feel the weight of that work in our souls. We experienced the highs. We experienced the lows.”

She said seeing a change in policing and a world that reflects equality will take investments and more time.

“I think that it’s going to take more than two years. If we’re talking 400 years to get us to this point that we’re at, we have to set realistic expectations,” Austin said

She said the goal is to create a better future for kids like Innocynce Johnson.

“Throughout the barricades and stuff I actually helped paint some of those and I also helped spray paint things,” Johnson said.

The 12-year-old saw George Floyd Square transform into a place of reflection and healing.

“It’s more like educational because you can see all this stuff and understand what’s going on,” Johnson said.

Community leaders said the movement can’t lose momentum. There’s still work to be done.

“We need to not forget. We can’t just go back to business as usual and see the same things happen over and over and over again,” Austin said.