As Derek Chauvin trial looms, city plans to reopen George Floyd Square, Walz readies National Guard, residents organize events

File: George Floyd memorial at East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.

The City of Minneapolis plans to reopen George Floyd Square at 38th & Chicago, which community members have shut down since police killed Floyd at the intersection on May 25. The reopening won’t happen until after a verdict is rendered on former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who is going on trial March 8 for second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

Chauvin will be tried separately from three other former Minneapolis police officers charged in aiding and abetting in Floyd’s death. The Minnesota Court of Appeals today rejected an appeal by prosecutors to delay the trial until later this summer and to try all four defendants together, the Star Tribune reported.

Gov. Tim Walz agreed to deploy the Minnesota National Guard to quell any unrest that might follow the trial, MPR reports. The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul had sought the help.

Meanwhile, various groups are planning educational events and prayer vigils around the trial.

A “Day of Prayers for Justice for George Floyd and Black Liberation” is planned at George Floyd Square on Monday, March 8, the first day of the trial. It will run from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Hosting the event are Day of Prayers for Justice for George Floyd and Black Liberation, the Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance, and Calvary Lutheran Church. More details to come.

A free screening of the film “A Breath for George” is set for Thursday, February 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. A panel discussion will follow. You can register for the Zoom gathering here.

New Dawn Theatre describes the film as “a collection of songs, interviews, monologues and short films honoring the life and death of George Floyd, those who have fallen before him and those who continue to fall due to police brutality and systemic racism.” The film highlights Minnesotan voices and works to “mobilize our citizens nationwide to roll up our sleeves and create radical, lasting change for our future.”

The event is co-hosted by Growth & Justice and OneMN.org, with Augsburg Women Engaged.(AWE)

File: Site where Floyd was killed.

The city of Minneapolis said it’s working with the neighborhood on reopening George Floyd Square, which has been a controversial topic. (The city is calling reopening the intersection a “reconnection.”)

City leaders said their overriding goals in reopening 38th and Chicago “will be to support the needs of residents and businesses while honoring the importance of racial healing and reflection in this sacred space.”

According to the city’s official statement:

Prior to reconnection, the City will continue to work toward its long-term commitments advancing racial justice while providing enhanced core City services and engagement opportunities for residents and businesses in the 38th & Chicago area.

“Public Works has been in close contact with community partners to determine two options for 38th & Chicago that preserve space for the memorial and art while ensuring delivery of critical services for the area, including much needed public transit. Both options provide two-way traffic operations in all directions improving business and residential access and providing the opportunity to restore transit service on Chicago Avenue and 38th Street.

“The City is sending a survey to area residents and businesses to determine the preferred option.

The City has pledged more than $10.5 million in funding that is eligible for supporting racial healing in the 38th & Chicago area, and has committed to several important initiatives to advance racial justice, including adopting a truth and reconciliation process with the ultimate objective of implementing specific solutions to specific harms that have created and perpetuate racial disparities.

City of Minneapolis

6 thoughts on “As Derek Chauvin trial looms, city plans to reopen George Floyd Square, Walz readies National Guard, residents organize events

  1. Sadly, you make it sound as if residents and grassroots organizers have not responded to the city’s plans. I do see the post from August 2020 that lifts up the demands from that group and hope you’ll write a new post that draws on grassroots responses and resistance to the city. I know you do that work when an issue impacts indigenous groups, such as the Line 3 debacle. I hope you’ll reach out to the BIPOC community and to other residents and organizers to share *their* perspective and stop quoting city officials.

    Blessings,
    Liz

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    • Liz, thanks for your comment. Fair point. I am not surprised to hear that the city’s outreach efforts have fallen short. I saw the city’s announcement yesterday and wanted to post it and news of the various events being planned. Will follow up.

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  2. The trial is set to begin March 8, not May 8.
    It is also worth noting that the city says it has been engaging with residents and will continue to do so. As I resident I feel this is absolutely false, there was one poorly done survey sent out with very little time for response. They say they are going to send another survey, but without any additional plans to engage with the community. It seems like they are moving forward with their own agenda without true community engagement.

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