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Minneapolis to hold outdoor festival to mark anniversary of George Floyd’s death

The intersection where George Floyd took his final breaths is to be transformed Tuesday into an outdoor festival on the anniversary of his death, with food, children’s activities and a long list of musical performers.

“We’re going to be turning mourning into dancing,” rapper Nur-D tweets. “We’re going to be celebrating 365 days of strength in the face of injustice.”

Floyd, 46, who was Black, died on Memorial Day 2020 after then-Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck, pinning him to the ground for about 9 1/2 minutes. Chauvin, who is white, was convicted last month of murder and faces sentencing June 25. Three other fired officers still face trial.

The site of Floyd’s death, 38th and Chicago, was taken over by activists soon after and remains barricaded to traffic. The “Rise and Remember George Floyd” celebration, including a candlelight vigil at 8 p.m., caps several days of marches, rallies and panel discussions about his death and where America is in confronting racial discrimination.

A woman holds a Black Lives Matter flag during an event in remembrance of George Floyd and to call for justice for those who lost loved ones to the police violence outside the Minnesota State Capitol on May 24, 2021 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Kerem Yucel / AFP)

Many members of the Floyd family are scheduled to be in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, in a private meeting with US President Joe Biden, who called family members after the Chauvin verdict and pledged to continue fighting for racial justice.

Nur-D, whose real name is Matt Allen, took to the Minneapolis streets in the days after Floyd’s death, often providing medical assistance to protesters who were shot or gassed in confrontations with police. He eventually founded an organization, Justice Frontline Aid, to support safe protest.

He describes the past year as “like we’ve lived 20 years inside of one” and hopes that people will feel “honesty and a real sense of togetherness” during Tuesday’s celebration at what’s informally known as George Floyd Square.

“If you’re angry, you can be angry. If you’re sad, you can be sad,” Nur-D says in a follow-up interview. “If you’re feeling some sense of joy over the verdict and some sort of like step in the right direction, and you want to celebrate that, do that as well.”

The event was organized by the George Floyd Global Memorial. Angela Harrelson, an aunt of Floyd’s and a member of the board of directors, said the organization has stockpiled 3,000 items surrounding Floyd’s death — things like artwork left behind in the square — and will display some of them in a pop-up gallery.

The event is due to start at 1 p.m., the same time Gov. Tim Walz asked Minnesotans to pause for a moment of silence to honor Floyd. Walz asks that the moment last for 9 minutes, 29 seconds – the length of time that prosecutors say Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck.

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