The main caretaker for George Floyd Square (38th and Chicago) and members of the team ran in the Twin Cities Marathon on Oct. 2, 2022 to raise money in support of the memorial and an internship in memorial caretaking and cultural heritage preservation.
Jeanelle Austin is the director and founder of Racial Agency Initiative, a resource for racial justice leadership coaching. She is also the lead caretaker of the George Floyd Square.
“In the spring, I was reminiscing about my dad, who died in 2019, with my mother. We talked about the time I ran the Twin Cities Marathon in 2016 and my dad wore my medal all afternoon. At that moment, I remembered that charities could run the marathon, and that the George Floyd Global Memorial could sign up as a charity to raise money for our programming. After all, it fit with our Rise & Remember theme: We Will Heal Us. It was the perfect opportunity to help the community engage in being healthy and raise money that would benefit our community at George Floyd Square. So, we organized a George Floyd Square team composed of neighbors and volunteers. We had nine runners signed up for the 10-mile race and four runners for the marathon race.
“This summer, we launched our Cultural Heritage Preservation Internship program. We hired three black youth from high school and college and taught them skills in memorial caretaking, archiving, art conservation, and exhibition. The experience went so well that we knew we wanted to keep the program going and run to raise money for youth jobs next summer. We did the math and figured that every $4,000 provides one youth internship.
“Collectively we raised over $7,000 for youth internships next summer! People can still give through the George Floyd Global Memorial website. When giving, simply put ‘CHPI program’ in the PayPal memo, and it will go toward the summer program.
“We had an amazing race this year. One of our runners, Phi Khalar, placed second in the non-binary category for the 10-mile race. We are so proud of them! The best part about it all is that we got to show the Twin Cities that we at George Floyd Square are truly a community and will continue to live and support Black life and Black liberation. We just may expand people’s imaginations as to when and how we show up for Black lives.”
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