A mural dedicated to George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement has been unveiled at Floyd’s alma mater, Jack Yates High School, in Houston, Texas, CBS Houston affiliate KHOU reports.
The mural, officially unveiled on Saturday, spans about two blocks on Alabama Street. The words “Black Lives Matter” are painted on the street, similar toin across the U.S. in the wake of protests following Floyd’s death in May.
Floyd died after akneeled on his neck during arrest. The death of the 46-year-old father, which was captured on video, reignited a against police killings of Black Americans.
Funeral services for Floyd, a Houston native, were held in the city in June.
Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, the Houston Society for Change and a nonprofit called 88 C.H.U.M.P. commissioned the mural. 88 C.H.U.M.P., which stands for Communities Helping Underprivileged Minorities Progress, is an organization created by Floyd’s childhood friends who played football with him. Floyd’s jersey number was 88.
The mural, created by artist Jonah Elijah, features Floyd’s No. 88 jersey and the school’s colors, red and yellow.
Elijah, who is also a Jack Yates High School alum, posted several images of the mural on his Instagram, writing: “It wasn’t just me, it was we. Better yet the community. I appreciate the love from everybody man. I’m tired as hell. Yates is one big family. I love my Yates family. A bunch of Lions and Lioness …Kings and Queens in this jungle like world. #3rdWardHigh #JYFly Rest in Peace Big Floyd. We love you. You a legend. That was our brother.”
Elijah spoke to KHOU about the Black Lives Matter street mural, saying: “These three words are not only for the people that don’t think Black Lives Matter but also for us too. It’s an anchor for us to unify.”
In a statement to CBS News, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis said it was important to honor Floyd with this piece of art during Black History Month.
“George Floyd’s life mattered. Just like Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, and the countless other lives we have lost just in the last few years to police violence,” Ellis said. “As a son of Houston’s historically black neighborhood of Third Ward, George Floyd is a part of our local black history, which is why it was necessary to honor his memory with this piece of art during Black History Month.”
Ellis said the mural will “continue an important conversation about the national crisis of Black people dying at the hands of law enforcement, and serve as a reminder of the work we still need to do to reform our criminal legal system.”
“The mural is symbolic, but we will also honor his memory with action,” Ellis said, noting that county commissioners voted to designate $25 million for programs “that would be alternatives to punitive criminal legal system approaches.”