A sign at the Speedway gas station greets visitors at George Floyd Square on June 3, 2021, in Minneapolis. Minneapolis will buy the boarded-up gas station at George Floyd Square, the City Council decided unanimously on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022. The area has become a protest site since George Floyd, a Black man, was killed there by a white police officer in May 2020, sparking a national reckoning on racial injustice.Photo: Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune (Getty Images)
The image of George Floyd’s murder is forever ingrained in the minds of Black Americans across the country and around the world. His murder was heinous, hateful and evil.
In response, the city is trying to change the profile of the site where Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020. Minneapolis has voted to buy the now-closed Speedway gas station at the intersection where the incident occurred two years ago, and remodel it into a racial justice healing center and memorial for the deceased Floyd, according to the Star Tribune.
Last week, the City Council unanimously voted to buy the gas station that has been home to protests ever since Derek Chauvin stood on Floyd’s neck for nearly ten minutes, killing the 46-year-old Black man.
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The council approved spending $200,000 in taxpayer funds and accepting the equivalent of a $420,000 donation from the owner to acquire the parcel, which likely sits atop contaminated soil from years of use as a gas station.
The official acquisition will likely happen in the first few months of 2023.
The city’s immediate plans are to secure the building, which formerly housed a convenience store and has been a concern for some time.
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The real estate investment group that owns the property, Realty Income Corp., had let the city know that it wanted to get rid of the property over concerns of liability, according to the Star Tribune. The body of a 45-year-old man was found in the building in March and it was determined by prosecutors that he died from a fentanyl overdose.
To no surprise, the news that the city would take over this property was met with mixed responses from Minneapolis citizens. Some don’t want the city to get involved in an area that was organically created as a place of protest and mourning, according to the Star Tribune.
I can’t blame them. The optics of creating a racial justice healing center are good, but what do the people in the area want to do with the property? Are they going to be involved in how it helps the community? What kind of work will specifically be done at this racial justice healing center? What services will be provided? Will everyone be allowed to have access to it?
These are all questions the City Council should answer before putting this healing center into action.
This content was originally published here.