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2 years later, Minnesotans gather to remember George Floyd

Maya Rao, Faiza Mahamud and Susan Du, Star Tribune on

Published in News & Features

At noon, Minneapolis Fire Chief Bryan Tyner was in his downtown office when renditions of the Black national anthem and collections of racial justice songs echoed through the bells of City Hall. An hour later, he recounted how he felt during a city event marking the second anniversary of Floyd's murder.

"I don't know about you ... but I felt a great sense of pride," Tyner said in a room filled with city employees, including Mayor Jacob Frey.

The goal of the second annual Day of Racial Reckoning Assembly was to commemorate the life of Floyd and others killed senselessly, to find healing and maintain resilience, said Tyner, the department's second Black fire chief.

"It is painfully clear to me that we still have a long way to go," said Tyner, who helped organize the event. "But I do believe and I see evidence that we're just a little bit further along than we were at this time last year."

Alberder Gillespie, director of the city's Civil Rights Department, took employees back to that day when Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck until he couldn't breathe. She challenged her colleagues to reflect and ask themselves the role they play in perpetuating racism and white supremacy.

"What you have to understand is there had to be a culture that was created that made that moment possible," she said, referring to Chauvin's actions. "What role did we play? ... You cannot have reckoning without truth."

Wednesday evening, about three dozen people gathered in front of the governor's residence in St. Paul to remember Floyd and others killed by law enforcement, including Amir Locke and Jamar Clark. People held signs and artwork and led call and response chants including, "Black Lives Matter" and "Say his name."

Speakers demanded police reform and systemic change. Many expressed frustration at the lack of legislative action since Floyd's death.

Back at George Floyd Square, the sign dedication did not start smoothly. Floyd's family members met up with Frey and City Council President Andrea Jenkins, and as they proceeded to the site some in the crowd began calling out: "Go home, Frey."

 

The group ducked into a nearby coffee shop and did not come out for some time. Activist Eliza Wesley asked those in the crowd to redirect their anger.

"I know we don't like Mayor Frey right now, but wait a minute, this is not about Mayor Frey today," Wesley said. "This is about George Floyd and his family right now."

Once the dedication got going, Frey declined an opportunity to speak. He had released a prepared statement earlier in the day, saying the city will continue to utter Floyd's name and remember his life and legacy "as a friend, father, brother, and loved one."

"(Floyd's) name has been heard in every corner of our world," Frey said. "In these days of reflection and remembrance, we must lead with kindness towards one another — and especially look out for and support our Black friends and neighbors."

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(Staff writer Shannon Prather contributed to this story.)

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©2022 StarTribune. Visit at startribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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