New Jersey to honor George Floyd with the unveiling of a new statue

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George Floyd (Image source: Instagram – @ _stak5_)

George Floyd’s memory will be honored today, Wednesday, June 16, when the city of Newark unveils a statue of the slain Black man, who was murdered by White police officer Derek Chauvin last year.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka will host the unveiling along with actor, director, and filmmaker Leon Pickney, who commissioned the 700-pound statue. The sculptor of the artwork, Stanley Watts, will be part of the ceremony as well, which is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. outside Newark’s City Hall on Board Street and will be streamed via the city’s Facebook page.

“The artwork honors the life of George Floyd, an African-American man who was brutally murdered by a White Minneapolis police officer. Mr. Floyd’s death elevated the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement which has resulted in an international response, including protests, police reform measures, and the removal of Confederate statues from public parks and racist names from organizations,” the mayor’s office said in a statement.

The statue was donated to the city this week as part of an effort to develop a “world-class public art program,” in Newark, according to George Floyd’s statue unveiling ceremony will also honor Juneteenth, which takes place Saturday, June 19.

Juneteenth, which is in talks to become a national holiday, honors June 19, 1865, the day Major General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas, the end of slavery in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and declared all people held in slavery must be freed.

Many slaves were unaware that the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed as their masters neglected to tell them the news and Juneteenth celebrates their official announcement. In 1980, Juneteenth became a Texas state holiday. In the years following, every state but South Dakota came to officially commemorate Juneteenth, but only a handful of states observe it as a paid holiday.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a law designating Juneteenth as an official state holiday last year. Newark officials stated that the George Floyd statue will be displayed outside City Hall for at least one year.

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