People gathered at the George Floyd Street mural in north Toledo to honor him and to talk about where the police accountability and reform movement is going from here.
TOLEDO, Ohio – Just days after a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of the murder of George Floyd, there seems to be a sense of renewed hope.
Community members gathered at the Floyd Street mural in Lagrange and Summit in northern Toledo on Sunday.
People believe that judgment can be a catalyst for change.
“This is a victory,” said Toledo artist David Ross. “This is a victory, but it’s only the beginning of the conversation, it’s not the end.”
Ross helped create a large mural of George Floyd in a building on Summit and Lagrange last July. He says the artwork is a memorial and a reminder never to forget what happened.
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“Anyone who realized what happened was wrong and it happens all too often,” said Ross.
Now, almost a year later, people gathered at the mural to remember Floyd’s life and the change it now represents.
“With this human rights issue, I have the feeling that in an open conversation with someone this change begins,” said Ellen Dziubek, who was persuaded to participate after Floyd’s death.
The Toledo Human Relations Commission selected the mural for the event.
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“Moving on with the process, not just talking about it,” said HRC member Sierra Webb, “feeling something, understanding the pain, the sadness, the celebration that comes from it.”
Webb emphasized street art can help create conversations that can lead to change.
“It’s representative of the work we have to do to bring the community together,” added Webb.
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Ross said the mural was intended as a memorial, but is now more a symbol of responsibility and change.
“It’s our whole fight against racism,” he said. “It’s not just one color because it knocks us all back.”
The HRC is planning more events with other community groups to keep the conversation going.
A vigil is scheduled for May 2nd in Ottawa Park to discuss police and judicial reform in the light of the chauvinist ruling.