MINNEAPOLIS — George Floyd's brother and his aunt came to the corner of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue on Wednesday night, exactly two years after his killing, and quietly made official the name the intersection has carried almost ever since.
"George Perry Floyd Square," read the commemorative street sign, now mounted over a corner of the city forever changed by the events of May 25, 2020, when former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin held Floyd under his knee until he died.
The ceremony quickly done, people gathered for the occasion headed to a nearby cemetery for a candlelight vigil.
The anniversary of Floyd's murder had started quietly that morning at George Floyd Square, a cold spring rain falling. Maria Bertrand, who works down the street at a tenant advocacy organization, was worried the weather would keep people away.
"I think it's still really important to remember why we have this and to remember why this is all here, why the community came together," Bertrand said, as a small crowd gathered.
Bertrand expressed hope that the passage of time hasn't dimmed support for changes to policing practices that were fervently demanded in the immediate aftermath of Floyd's death.
Earlier, a man who identified himself only as Joe gazed somberly at the spot where Floyd died.
"To me personally, I feel like it's starting to fade away," he said. "You know, people are kind of going their own way now compared to what it was two years ago and I'm committed to this. I'm going to still be here every day. I'm going to still be out here to honor George."
Unny Nambudiripad recalled how the rise of activism and mutual aid following Floyd's killing was like nothing he'd ever seen.
"It's hard to feel like we've made much progress, but I think that underlying the whole uprising and the murder of George Floyd was broader questions of racism and inequity in our society," he said. "And so I'm really glad that those issues have become more prominent and there's more momentum, because I think that will affect things related to police and police violence if we can address these structural, systemic issues around racism."