MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue resembles any other intersection in south Minneapolis. But where those two roads meet and what happened there changed not only the intersection itself, but also the course of history.
“Honestly, I feel cold bumps. It’s a tragic event, but it’s a learning experience,” said Charles Gallon, who was at the intersection from Florida.
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“This is something that God made happen to change the world,” added Eliza Wesley. She is nicknamed “Gatekeeper” as she has been at the crossroads almost every day since George Floyd was murdered. Whether she was directing traffic or organizing events, the location where those two streets intersect is a sacred place for her and many others. “It’s always in the back of my mind that George Floyd died for a purpose. George Floyd didn’t die in vain,” she said.
A bleak Wednesday night may reflect the bleak reality that what began as Floyd’s arrest and ended with his murder two years ago.
But what came of his death gives visitors at the crossroads hope. Many just stopped to think. Other flowers left at the artwork roundabout in the middle of the intersection.
“Two years ago we said we would get justice for George Floyd. We’re putting 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 murder. “Hundreds of thousands of people have literally flooded the world at a time when we had a pandemic where everyone was locked up. But what we saw dictated that we had to get out and demand justice.”
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What followed was a conviction of the officer who killed him, police reforms, and a cultural awakening that created connection.
“I see people of different nationalities recovering together and for one purpose,” Gallon said.
“We’re still taking our time to grow, trying to get to know each other, trying to trust each other,” Wesley added. “We’re all still in the process, it’s slowly changing.”
As the sun approached, Floyd’s brother and aunt, along with other family members, stopped at 38th and Chicago Avenues. They helped unveil a new street sign bearing Floyd’s name.
Just another memorial at a crossroads that will never be the same, just like the world around it.
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“Yeah, we just finished rolling out George Floyd’s name on the spot where he was killed. But we’re not done yet. This is just another step forward in the process of progress,” said Darris.