The thousands of colorful bouquets placed on the street where George Floyd died are shriveled and faded now, but no one dares to move them.
Even as they wither, they are a powerful tribute to the black man who died beneath the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer at the corner of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue on May 25.
One month after Floyd’s shocking death was captured on a video that sparked protests across the globe, hundreds of people still come daily to the spot where he pleaded for his life to say a prayer, drop a flower or two and pay homage to a man and a movement.
The rise of something more lasting can be seen in the intersection where freshly planted flowers grow in a makeshift garden. A raised-fist sculpture rises from the center.
“I’m 63 years old and I’m a breast cancer survivor, so the countdown is on,” said Marlana Buchette, who came from Indianapolis to visit the memorial that stretches along E. 38th Street and the unofficially renamed George Floyd Avenue outside the neighborhood grocery store.
She grew up in a Chicago suburb during the civil rights movement. Despite that movement, she and her family ran headlong into inequality and injustice.
There were neighborhoods and schools that were off-limits to a black family.
“You don’t know how it feels to be African-American and be discriminated against,” Buchette said.
It was the sideways glances from white people that her father got when he drove his Lincoln Continental or the look of suspicion she gets when she shops in certain stores.
“This is the 21st century. Why is this still happening?” she said.
But the video of a white officer kneeling on a man who pleaded he couldn’t breathe opened people’s eyes, Buchette said.
“We’ve been marching for decades because all we want is to be treated equally,” she said.
So on a Thursday summer afternoon, she brought her two granddaughters and a great-granddaughter to see the memorial to a man that sparked a beginning of another growing movement. “They can see our lives do matter,” Buchette said.
They can see it on Floyd’s face in the mural on the side of Cup Foods, the large portrait on the other side of the grocery store, the curbside vegetable garden planted in his honor and all the painted messages on the pavement that reflect rage, revolt and cries for equality.
Naomi Campbell came Thursday to visit the intersection yet again.
The 62-year-old woman, who grew up in Memphis, has been part of the struggle for equality for a long time.
And once again, she lamented, a black man has died at the hands of police. “I’m still angry. I’m still hurt,” Campbell said.
But she also felt a loving spirit at an intersection where people gather. “He’s still speaking to us,” she said.
A serene quiet settled over the memorial on the warm summer afternoon, punctuated only by a rooster’s crowing from a nearby backyard.
“I’m not a religious guy, but I feel a higher power here,” said Steven Henderson of St. Paul.
Looking out across the street, he said he saws hope, because the people who come to the site “are from all walks of life and all hues.”
People who would never think to speak to one another are talking, he said.
“I feel the change in here,” he said, putting his hand over his heart.
“We all have something in common now — humanity.”
There’s a feeling of solidarity for people like Whitney Mason, a former longtime Minneapolis resident who now lives in Colorado.
She came to visit with her husband and two daughters. She wanted them to see firsthand that “there are people who aren’t OK with what happened here.”
Nearby, Ann Christianson of Golden Valley was making her third visit to the memorial. She placed a bunch of roses of different colors at the site.
“I did that today because I’m hearing voices finally across a wide spectrum of people who are seeing these injustices,” she said. “Floyd’s life was given to wake us up.”
The cellphone video of a man taking his last breath was too startling for the world to ignore, said Bill Mackins of Apple Valley.
“You see the truth.”
Growing up in north Minneapolis, he saw injustice first hand.
And yet, he can’t help but be proud to be a black man from Minnesota.
“It’s the place where black people came to thrive. They come for a better life,” he said.
Minneapolis was tarnished by Floyd’s killing, and yet it’s also a place that marks the genesis of change, Mackins said.
On Thursday, he was compelled to make his first visit to the memorial.
“This is the spot that people will remember for a long time,” he said.
“This is the place where the world is going to change.”