On Thursday morning, neighbors near George Floyd Square awoke to find that city workers had removed the concrete barriers that blocked off 38th and Chicago. City officials say this is the first phase of a three year plan. Some local organizers criticized the city for not alerting caretakers of the community space.
Tiffany Bui reports:
On Thursday morning, neighbors near George Floyd Square awoke to find that city workers had removed the concrete barriers that blocked off 38th and Chicago. Afterwards, volunteers arrived to hand out food, replant flowers and put up makeshift barriers.
Julia Johnson says though the concrete barriers provided a sense of security for the square, she believes the community would be able to fill that gap.
“I have faith in my community that … if another drop of blood is spilled, if one more person from our community is stolen from us, that we will erect another George Floyd square,” said Johnson.
City officials say this is the first phase of a three year plan. The plan includes building a roundabout encircling the statue of a fist at the heart of the square and investing in other projects in the neighborhood. Officials partnered with the Agape Movement, a group which seeks to connect law enforcement and community members. Group leader Steve Floyd, no relation to George Floyd, said at a city press conference that Agape wanted to reopen the square for businesses and to prevent shootings.
“The building that’s across the street from Cup Foods – we got African American men… looking to purchase that building,” said Floyd. “So all up and down that block is Black businesses, and basically through the shutdown, they were the ones being oppressed.”
Some speakers at George Floyd Square pushed back against the reopening. They say the city failed to communicate with those who regularly take care of the memorial. Vine Adams says the city’s action left her heartbroken and mad.
“For all the people who came to the square, who cried, who celebrated, who danced – did you do it for a roundabout?” Adams asked the crowd. “Did you do it for somebody to tell you when we done, when we finished, when we done grieving?”
Mayor Jacob Frey said officials didn’t expect to complete reopening the square Thursday, but they are continuing efforts to fully open the intersection to vehicle traffic.
Photo Courtesy of: D.A. Bullock
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