Black Lives Matter. And anyone traveling near Jack Yates High School will know it as a massive BLM mural, spanning two blocks along Alabama Street in Third Ward, was unveiled during a private ceremony in honor of George Floyd.
The grand crimson and yellow mural, completed and unveiled Saturday, pays tribute to Floyd, the JY alumnus and former football player who was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in broad daylight, sparking national outrage.
Floyd’s friends, family members, former classmates and teammates joined elected leaders and officials at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the high school on Jan. 6.
It was quite a show of love and support, as a parade packed with hundreds of attendees, car and bike club riders filled the areas, releasing balloons and saying encouraging words.
“This is another public statement that the life and death of George Floyd is not in vain and that eight minutes and 46 seconds are still being resonated throughout the globe,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, the Houston Society for Change, and 88 C.H.U.M.P., a non-profit social activism organization formed by Floyd’s former Yates football teammates, made this tribute possible.
Jonah Elijah, a 2012 Jack Yates High School graduate, designed and painted the mural, which includes a red football jersey, donning Floyd’s number 88 on it, with his date of birth and death displayed.
“I hope it’s something that we can look within and we can allow this to be an anchor for our unity,” Elijah said.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee were also in attendance.
Jackson-Lee presented Elijah with a certificate of congressional recognition and gave members of the Floyd family a copy of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, which was passed in June by the U.S. House.
“I’m just overwhelmed today. I thank you all so much this is beautiful. The murals, the billboards, it’s just amazing,” his sister, Latoya Floyd, said.