MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Community organizations, residents, volunteers and local businesses have been working together all summer to transform the intersection of 38th and Chicago where George Floyd was killed on May 25.
The intersection has been barricaded off to traffic since the days immediately following Floyd’s death. Since then, gardens, memorials and artwork have been erected to honor Floyd and the worldwide movement that started here.
“It’s a lot of things we’re involving in this transformation to continue to make this a broader community,” Steve Floyd, Senior Advisor for Agape Movement.
The Agape Movement is a local non-profit that has become the lead security force at the intersection. In the weeks following George Floyd’s death there were several incidents of gun violence in the area. Steve Floyd says recently they’ve been able to keep the peace.
“It’s been like five weeks now that it’s been no violence, no guns, shooting none of that,” Floyd said.
The space has started to host weekly events, like the “Reimagine 38th and Chicago” event held every Saturday through the month of August.
On Sundays, the church at 38th and Chicago, Worldwide Outreach Ministries, holds outdoor service starting at 11 a.m. There is also an effort underway to create a weekly youth entrepreneurship event where kids are encouraged to set up a booth and sell their goods.
Also on Sundays, the non-profit Heads Up Health USA offers free COVID-19 testing to residents and visitors.
“[It] doesn’t matter if you have symptoms, asymptomatic we’ll test you,” Jaana Hull with Heads Up Health USA said.
The organization is working with the company Total Compliance Solutions to offer free testing to whoever signs up, even if they don’t have an ID or social security number. The tests are administered by volunteers who are able to get results in 24 to 48 hours.
“The community here is at risk, the residents who live here, because of all of the travelers who move through here,” Hull said.
Hull says she’s met travelers visiting the memorial from California, the UK, even China and Singapore. She says in the few weeks they’ve been doing testing they have seen some of the positive test results increase.
Hull is a life-long resident of the 38th and Chicago neighborhood. She says she, and many others who live here, are eager for city officials to move forward with plans to make the space more permanent.
“We’re working with the city to make this a permanent pedestrian plaza. It’s getting cold. We want to see the kids out here that have booths moved inside to a historical memorial and renovate some of these office spaces and make this an epicenter of a historical movement,” Hull said.
So far, long term plans for the space have not been decided yet. City officials, including some city council members, have held community meetings to talk about what the future of the space may look like.
The City of Minneapolis 2020 budget includes $100,000 to support initial community engagement in the creation of the space. The budget also includes $150,000 for the Creative City Making program to hire diverse artists and creators to help rebuild areas impacted by civil unrest.
The Minneapolis City Council has also adopted an ordinance establishing 38th Street as one of the city’s seven “Cultural Districts.” According to the City of Minneapolis website, the city is preparing to adopt the “38th Street Thrive Plan.” The goal is to work closely with the community to reimagine and design the space.
To help with COVID-19 testing efforts at 38th and Chicago through Heads Up Health USA text “HelpNow” to 833-755-6550.