Shortly after Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and top law enforcement officials spoke at the unveiling ceremony of a George Floyd statue in Tom Bass Park, Floyd family members expressed their appreciation to everyone in Houston and around the world who rallied against police brutality and criminal justice reform.
“I just want to say thank you to each and every one of you,” said Kathleen McGee, Floyd’s aunt. “We love what you are doing and advocating for George.”
Moments after her emotional comments in the Tom Bass Park community center, she and other family members joined Ellis, Turner and others in unveiling the “Conversation with George” artwork nearby in the park.
“George Floyd’s murder released a torrent of action,” Ellis earlier told the audience. “Not just here but all around the globe. The family members lost a loving family member. Houston, we lost one of our own.
“It’s amazing to sustain attention to equity issues that came after Mr. Floyd was murdered. And not just here but all around the globe. That’s why on this occasion, it is so important,” said Ellis.
Turner, like other speakers, commended the Floyd family for the class and grace it has shown since the tragic death.
“When 60,000 people marched in our city, quite frankly I’ll tell you – as Mayor – I was concerned,” Turner said of an event shortly after Floyd was murdered two years ago. “… It could have gone wrong very fast. But one of the major reasons why it didn’t was because the Floyd family stood and said we don’t want y’all to act crazy. We don’t want it to be violent.”
Also speaking at the ceremony were Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner and Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.
The statue was unveiled on Wednesday, May 25, which was the second anniversary of Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer. Renowned sculptor Adrienne Rison-Isom created the $110,000 statue that was donated to Harris County by Dannette Davis of Kay Davis Associates.
The sculpture depicts Floyd seated at an outdoor table welcoming everyone – all races and ethnic backgrounds – to have a seat and join him. Davis said she wants visitors to take away the symbolism of Floyd being an approachable person who would “spark” conversation or friendship with anyone.
From the beginning of the project, Davis and Rison-Isom ensured that the Floyd Family Foundation was involved and approved the sculpture.
The day before the unveiling, Davis and Shareeduh Tate, president of George Floyd Foundation and Floyd’s first cousin, sat next to statue and reflected on Floyd’s life.
“I didn’t expect I’d be moved to tears when I got here, honestly,” Tate said. “But I will tell you, to see it come to fruition is just unbelievable. It’s great to see a place where people can sit and reflect, whether it’s about George or if they want to reflect on their own legacy.”