38th & Chicago Ave S
MISSION & VISION
We exist to conserve stories of resistance to racial injustice and to curate spaces for all people to grieve, pay respect, and be a voice for justice. Our vision is to bring community development in Minneapolis and inspire people to pursue racial justice around the world.
“This is a made space, where a fluid memorial has been organically constructed and thoughtfully, lovingly maintained by a self-organizing network of caretakers. It is a space for art and mourning, sustenance (literal and spiritual) and safety, grieving and gathering, resources and resistance. It is a space reclaimed, born of— and nourished by— care.”
-Susannah Bruce Hornsby for The Foundry Homegoods, April 13, 2021
On May 25, 2020, George Perry Floyd was lynched by the Minneapolis Police Department just steps away from the intersection of 38th Street East and Chicago Avenue South. In response to this atrocity, people came from across the world to pay respect, lay expressions of pain and hope as offerings, and grieve the ongoing violence against black bodies.
The memorial started simple. There were circles of flowers and a few distinct locations to lay offerings. The memorial has now expanded to encompass offerings in every direction, large and small. It could take a museum several years to build a collection of the magnitude to which the memorial has grown. Since the 2020 uprising, Caretakers built a greenhouse for the plants and delicate offerings, developed a temporary conservation room, kindly provided by the Pillsbury House & Theater and supported by the Midwest Arts Conservation Center, and continue to tend to the offerings at the intersection of 38th & Chicago laid in memory of George Floyd and other black lives lost in this community and across the nation.
Over 20 volunteer neighbors adopted the name of memorial caretakers ("Caretakers"). Caretakers operate with two guiding principles: 1) Everything is somebody's offering. Therefore, nothing is thrown away. 2) The people are more sacred than the memorial itself. Caretakers tend to the offerings as a form of protest. Remembrance is a powerful tool to challenge injustice.
An estimated 5000 offerings of street art, drawings by children, protest signs, rocks, letters, paintings, flowers, and meaningful gifts transform this intersection into a sacred site. People all over the world continue to build the memorial, and through Caretaking, we continue to preserve history, remember stories, and protest in this unprecedented way.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Cochair & Family Member
About Ms. Angela
Angela Harrelson, George Floyd’s Aunt, grew up in a shack surrounded by tobacco fields in eastern North Carolina, and was taught by her sharecropper parents how to get along in a country that made black people sit in the back of the bus. She worked the tobacco fields during high school to pay for school clothes, became head cheerleader, and won the title of Ms Congeniality in a local beauty pageant. The win put a proud smile on her mother’s face that she shared with one of the white farmers' wives. Sadly, the wife of the farmer didn't believe it was the same Black girl that worked in their tobacco fields. Angela overheard her tell her mom, "That is no way your daughter." Angela’s mom told her, "It doesn't matter. When you got the proof with the truth, that's all you need know. "
After graduation, Angela attended community college in Iowa where she hoped to become a lawyer. She later changed her mind about pursuing a law career when a law counselor said that he did not teach Black people because he is racist. Intimidated by his position of authority and white influence, she pursued Nursing instead. Harrelson completed a Bachelor's degree and served in the Army National Guard, Navy Reserves, and Air force Reserve/Guard for 15 years which helped finance her schooling. She later ended her military career as an Air Force Captain and has been working as an R.N for nearly 30 years.
The world knows him as George Floyd, but the family knows him by his middle name, Perry. Perry moved to Minneapolis three years ago to build a new life and Angela looked forward to having him in Minnesota. Angela made a promise to his mother, Sissy, that she would be there for him and would continue to encourage him to stay focused on his plans. Before her nephew’s death, she felt people didn’t want to talk about racism, but now, she’s encouraged because there’s an ongoing conversation occuring around the world. Angela is sharing his story throughout the United States, keeping the kind-hearted spirit of her gentle, beloved nephew alive, and doing her part to continue in the fight against racism and oppression. Minnesota has been her home since 1998. When reflecting upon her nephew Angela remarks, "When Perry decided to make his home here, his presence was special. He is missed dearly by his friends & family who will continue to be a voice for him. We must not let his death be his last word"
Cochair & Family Member
About Ms. Paris
Paris Stevens is a native of Cedar Rapids, IA. She attended the public schools of Cedar Rapids and graduated from Kennedy High School in 1994. She decided to enroll at an Historically Black College in the fall of 1994. She moved to Raleigh, NC and attended Saint Augustine’s College. She graduated in 1998 with a BS in Business Administration. In life, her aspirations were to simply help people and encourage them to be their best person. In her business career she helped many achieve the “American Dream” of becoming homeowners, working in the mortgage industry for over 10 years. She decided to take another path and pursue a completely different career, Nursing. She attended North Carolina A & T State University, an Historically Black College, and received a BS in Nursing in 2016. Even though these career paths are different, the potential to make a difference in someone’s life was significant to her and important to her transition to Nursing. Throughout her life, Paris has challenged herself and set goals, believing that quitting is not an option.
She has come to the next chapter in her life, where she never thought she would be. The death of her cousin, George Perry Floyd, changed her outlook on life. She truly believes that we are not placed in situations by accident. Her heart has been pulled toward making change and sparking awakening in those who are asleep. She believes that together we can accomplish more than we can separately. Her personal philosophy and call to action is "Let us keep walking the walk together."
Executive Director & Community Member
About Ms. Jeanelle
Jeanelle Austin is the creator of Racial Agency Initiative, a racial justice leadership coaching company. She is also the lead caretaker of the memorial, where she guides a team of volunteers to stand in the unique space of preservation and protest. She began tending to the memorial during the first week of the protest as a form of social resistance and self-care. Every day, the memorial looked different, and every day, she and others would tend to both the new and old offerings so that the story could be preserved.
Jeanelle earned a BA in Christian Ministries from Messiah College and an MDiv in Ethics and an MA in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. She consults and speaks nation-wide on various topics as they intersect with race in America. A native resident of Minneapolis, Jeanelle grew up blocks away from the intersection of 38th & Chicago in Bryant Neighborhood and joyfully serves the community alongside brothers and sisters in the ongoing fight for racial justice.
Archiving Sacred Spaces Fellow
Heather holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, a Masters of Library and Information Science from St. Catherine University and a Certificate of Museum Studies from the University of St. Thomas. In 2020, she began teaching and advising students for the Archives and Special Collections pathway of the Library and Information Science program at St. Catherine University.
Community Engagement Intern
Lauren Aung is a Junior at Princeton University studying Politics and Values and Public Life. Her studies center around the intersection of racial justice, the state, and the media in the United States. She is originally from Austin, Texas.