George Floyd may not have been from Newark, New Jersey, but the city is honoring his contribution to Black America with a 700-pound bronze statue of him sitting on a bench.
On Wednesday, three days before Juneteenth, a public unveiling of the statue took place outside Newark’s City Hall, which pays recognition to Floyd after four Minneapolis police officers tragically murdered him.
As BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported, the murder of Floyd and former officer Derek Chauvin’s guilty conviction has forever changed the discourse of how Americans talk about inequality, specifically police brutality.
Last summer, massive demonstrations across the world amid a global pandemic showed that people were tired of injustice against Black people enacted by law enforcement.
In Newark, which has a 50% Black population, Floyd’s serves as an inspiration.
The life story of the murdered Floyd plays out as the following, according to Vice News: former star football player of his high school fell on hard times, but he was rehabilitating back to society as a truck driver and security guard.
He leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter.
Artist Stanley Watts brings Floyd sitting on a bench to life. Watts was commissioned by actor and filmmaker Leon Pinkney as a donation to the city, according to NJ.com.
The statue’s purpose is to serve as a constant reminder of humanity and encourage social justice.
“The world needed a peaceful George,” Watts said during the ceremony. “The world needed him relaxed and chilling on a bench and that’s what we produced and we produced him larger than life because, after death, George will be remembered. That’s what memorials are. To remember and never forget why we changed today and tomorrow and for the rest of our existence on this planet.”
“George Floyd represents a lot more than himself at this juncture in history. Hopefully, when people walk by it and they see it … hopefully it inspires them to become active in the struggles that are happening right here in Newark and right here in New Jersey,” Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, who attended the event, said.