I Am Saddened By the Reactions to the George Floyd Statue in Newark
Not a day goes by that I don't think about George Floyd and the aftermath of his death. Its been over a year since a black man was killed by a police offer and it is still a tough pill to swallow. Today was a big day in the state of New Jersey. I am proud in the way the city of Newark honored Floyd's memory.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka unveiled a 700 pound bronze statue of Floyd that sits on the front steps of city hall. The statue depicts Floyd in a white beater and jeans sitting on a bench. According to Newsbreak, there was a whole ceremony earlier where Baraka and filmmaker Leon Pickney honored the legacy of the man who shifted the trajectory of our culture.
“The artwork honors the life of George Floyd, an African-American man who was brutally murdered by a White Minneapolis police officer. Mr. Floyd’s death elevated the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement which has resulted in an international response, including protests, police reform measures, and the removal of Confederate statues from public parks and racist names from organizations,” the mayor’s office said in a statement according to Newsbreak.
From what I can see on social media, a lot of people are trying to understand the statue's purpose. It seems to be the first of it's kind in the country. According to Newsbreak, it was a donated gift to the city and seemingly is a symbol of equality.
I can't expect everyone to see how huge this is and how this statue sends such an important message. I can't expect everyone to appreciate the legacy George Floyd left behind and see that this man is the reason so much in our country has changed in a positive way. I was scrolling through twitter and all I could see was people upset with the Mayor of Newark for honoring a "criminal." Others were questioning why the statue was placed in Newark of all places given that Floyd had never been there. It just shows that even though we have come so far, we still have a long way to go when it comes to people understanding the bigger picture.
The statue isn't going to be there forever. According to Bin News, it is only going to be in front of city hall on Broad Street for about a year. During that time I hope people will take the time to educate themselves and open their hearts. This is more than just about George Floyd.
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