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Relief, Joy At George Floyd Square In South Minneapolis

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The intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue was the scene of George Floyd's death under the knee of Derek Chauvin, Reg Chapman reports (4:56). WCCO 4 News - April 20, 2021

Video Transcript

REG CHAPMAN: It's very emotional here, Jason. As you can see, the crowd continues to grow. After the verdict was read, it seemed like more people came down here just to be in the space. 30th and Chicago has traditionally been, since George Floyd, it has been a place of gathering, a place of unity, a place of healing. And then it continues today. A lot of people have made their way down here. And I was just talking to a friend of mine, Ms. Pamela Williams, who has been out here with protesters basically talking to young people. And you're from the South Side. So, coming here today, what does it mean to be here at 30th and Chicago today?

PAMELA WILLIAMS: It's overwhelming. It is a beautiful thing to be here. You know, I was here in mourning. We've been here in mourning. And now we're here in celebration.

REG CHAPMAN: There are a lot of positive messages going on right now. So the celebration is also with messages, right?

PAMELA WILLIAMS: That's right. Exactly exactly. That's what it's all about. You know, we finally got our justice. Well, you know, it's so long overdue. You know, we've been fighting the same fight since the '60s. This is 2021. And we got the verdict, all three charges guilty.

REG CHAPMAN: And that's the iconic pose that we're used to seeing year-round in the Twin Cities. You talk about growing up in this neighborhood. Your son-- actually, this was his corner store. It's got to be emotional for him and you, too.

PAMELA WILLIAMS: Totally, totally. This is our corner store. You know, that's where I get my gas, you know? And, like I said, it's overwhelming. It's overwhelming. You know, I watched the verdict on television with my daughter and my grandchildren this evening. And we just cried. And I'm just so thankful just to be here and witness that, you know? Because there are so many of us that aren't here to see this be done, finally. There's so many of us that have already gone. And I'm just thankful to be here.

REG CHAPMAN: Thank you, Ms. Pamela Williams. And believe it or not, folks, she's one of the elders in our community, some of the people who have broke glass ceilings in the Twin Cities and bringing her talents here. And now she's here to celebrate with the rest of the community. Living on the North Side, but growing up on the South Side and bringing her children back here to be a part of what's happening.

And, Jason, and frankly, if you look around, you can see it's people from all walks of life. There are young people. There are old people, white people, Black people. It does not matter because everybody is here in the same spirit of unity. People talking about change, talking about transformational change and how they all want to be a part of that. And that's what the discussion is going on right here and right now, 30th and Chicago. Really, a place of mourning, It used to be, but now it's a place of peace and people moving forward and sparking change. Guys, back to you in the studio.

- Well, first of all, hard to believe that that's an elder. I mean, come on, right? Let's--

REG CHAPMAN: Yes, she is. They said, it's hard to believe you're an elder. And, yes, she is. And she's a double cancer survivor. And we've talked to her several times. And she's been an inspiration for a lot of young people in our community and I'm so glad to have her out here.

- For sure. We're glad to have you--

PAMELA WILLIAMS: Thank you. Reg, we're glad to have you out there, too. I wonder about your perspective because that location in our city has meant so many different things over the course of the last 10 or 11 months. You were out there in the early days after May 25, after Memorial Day. Just-- I wonder what's going through your mind as you experience this along with the community right now.

REG CHAPMAN: [EXHALES SHARPLY] Actually, it's almost like I took a collective sigh of relief with the entire community. For so long, people have held space here at 30th and Chicago since Memorial Day. And now to see the people who have been here on the ground from day one and to see their faces, the tears-- some people just screamed in excitement and joy. And just to see that, to see the relief, to see people hugging. Complete strangers.

I mean, that feeling, it's hard to describe. But it feels-- I'm glad to be a part of the community. I'm glad to be here to see this. I mean, we went from seeing all the destruction that happened after George Floyd to seeing this coming together, to see this building, rebuilding of community. And it's so important that everybody plays a part and that everybody plays a role in that. And we're seeing that right now unfold in front of our eyes. Being a part of documenting this part of history, Jason, it's incredible. And I'm just honored to be here.

- Well, we heard the state refer to the bouquet of humanity that gathered as bystanders that night, that video from Darnella Frazier that perhaps changed the entire trajectory of what happened that night by revealing the truth to everyone. And now a bouquet of humanity there again right now. Reg Chapman, thank you. We appreciate it.