“The community has really invested in keeping his memory alive.” Minneapolis festival honors George Floyd’s life and legacy

George Floyd’s life honored in Rise and Remember festival

George Floyd's life honored in Rise and Remember festival

The Minneapolis community came together Saturday to remember George Floyd’s life and legacy.

Thursday marked the third anniversary of Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis Police.

“I like the way the community is together,” said Orlando Matthews, visiting from New Orleans with his son. “You see people from all sorts of places.”

The ‘Rise and Remember’ festival attracted hundreds of people to George Floyd Square.

“The community has really invested in keeping his legacy alive,” declared Monique Cullars-Doty.

Her nephew, Marcus Golden, was killed by St. Paul Police in 2015.

“I’m here in solidarity,” Cullars-Doty said. “We’ve been doing the work for George Floyd since it started, and many others, so it’s a beautiful turnout. Lots of love in the community.”

People from all over the country are here to visit the memorial, including Matthews.

“It took me back to when I saw the news flash and just to be here to see all the different stuff, the flowers,” he said. “Things are flowing through your head, like what really happened, and why did it go so bad.”

There was music and food there, with festival visitors strolling quietly along 38th and Chicago.

But a trio of themes continues to resonate here, reflected by one of the signs on display: justice, accountability and healing.

Justice for George Floyd — and for others.

“This isn’t something that just happens overnight,” noted Chauntyll Allen, with Black Lives Matter, Twin Cities Metro. “It takes a lot of years of being in the streets and challenging the system, and really pushing back and people finally getting on board.”

Among those thinking about Floyd this weekend is Richfield artist Ricardo Perez.

“There was like a magnetic calling to be on the streets, to be with community,” he recalled.

Perez was among those who began creating street art in the weeks after Floyd’s death.

“We want to do art,” he told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in June 2020. “We wanted to help the community heal.”

Perez and dozens of others began painting the plywood boards used to protect buildings during the unrest.

Many themes were about Floyd and social justice.

Plywood murals, Perez called them.

“I feel like, given all the violence — like there was a healing component,” he explained. “To be able to talk to people about what was happening, and so that was special to serve, yep.”

Some of those murals and other artworks created after Floyd’s death are now cataloged in a photo archive being put together by the University of St. Thomas.

3,000 images have been stored so far.

“I think that part is very beautiful,” Allen said. “I would love to see some of the art that was happening in other cities.”

The George Floyd Global Memorial now has about 200 pieces of what organizers call ‘protest art’ —collected from George Floyd Square, now on display at the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center.

Organizers hope to establish a permanent archive location sometime in the future.

Meanwhile, at 38th and Chicago — a gathering of remembrance and hope, and the realization that change can happen.

“Now that we know what it feels like, I feel it’s up to us to decide what to do with that awareness next,” Perez said.