38th and Chicago
On June 11, I went to the site of George Floyd’s murder at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue. My visit wasn’t planned. I simply got in the car that morning and drove four miles. At 9 a.m. I stood and stared at the pavement where he had died.
The sadness engulfed me and I sobbed behind my sunglasses and floral face-mask.
It felt like a violation to drive away, so I walked two blocks west to the apartment where my grandparents had lived. I stared at the building and then sat on a stoop at the apartment’s entrance.
Decades ago, as a child, I shopped with my grandmother at the grocery store at Chicago Avenue and 38th Street. Could I have imagined that someday a policeman would kill a man there and that it would ignite protests around the world?
Fifty-eight years ago, my father drove his children to his parents’ apartment so that we could see President Kennedy’s motorcade drive by en route to downtown Minneapolis. The top of the convertible was down. We waved. Our handsome Catholic president waved back.
As I sat on the stoop, I thought of George and President Kennedy, both killed at age 46.
Back at the site of George Floyd’s death, people continued to bring flowers, speak quietly in small groups and add tributes to this unlikely memorial site. A profound sorrow was almost palpable. Could change truly come, although it would be 400 years too late for Mr. Floyd and countless others? It has to, starting now.