On Friday, the Minneapolis City Council approved plans to name a stretch of the street where George Floyd was killed in his honor.
According to the Associated Press, the street is named Chicago Avenue and will continue to go by that name, but the city will recognize the blocks between 37th and 39th streets as George Perry Floyd Jr. Place.
Months after Floyd’s death, the intersection remains barricaded and now holds a memorial. A group of demonstrators has occupied the area, saying they will not leave until the city meets their demands, including funding for anti-racism training and a temporary property tax freeze for people within that zone.
The city had announced plans to reopen 38th Street this summer but backed off, avoiding a confrontation.
The city continues to work on a long-term plan for the intersection.
On one hand, I get it: Floyd’s death in police custody became the catalyst for the largest and most continuous Black Lives Matter movement the nation and the world have ever seen. His name will likely be documented in American history for that reason alone. So why not name a street after him? It’s being done for the same reason it’s appropriate to build a memorial in his name in the area where he was killed—to celebrate his life while acknowledging the injustice surrounding his death.
On the other hand: If I was a victim of extrajudicial execution, I’m not sure how I or my family would feel about the spot where I spent the final moments of my life in pain and in terror being named for me. If anything, name the part of the street where I was born after me.
At the end of the day, however, the fact that the commemorative naming of that stretch of street in Minneapolis is even happening shows the impact Floyd’s death has had on the social and political climates in the U.S. The events of May 25, 2020, have helped reshape the way many people view and discuss systemic racism in America. Maybe that’s why the naming is appropriate.