Volunteers clean George Floyd statue in Union Square Park after vandalism
Groups of people pitched in to clean up a statue of George Floyd in Union Square Park after a man was caught on camera vandalizing the mural last weekend.
The incident, which took place on Sunday, shocked many of the people involved in the cleanup effort.
“My immediate thought was why?” said Lacrown Johnson, of the We Are Floyd Association. “Obviously why, why exclusively George Floyd? And to be honest, the next question, are we going to find out who these people are, or this person is?”
A man was seen on camera riding by the statue on a skateboard and tossing a substance believed to be paint or primer.
“The park is fully covered in security cameras, so there's a lot of footage and we are hoping for some leads," says Lindsay Eshelman, co-founder of Confront Art.
Police have beefed up their presence in the area around the statues.
“I hate that the situation happened,” said Tashunda Kelly, who is visiting from Texas.
“Some people want to say, ‘Oh, I think it was regular vandalism,” added Kingsbridge's Anne Sussman. “But it was obviously targeted. It's not just regular vandalism, it's racist vandalism."
It took nearly a day to clean off the substance used in the vandalism, but a bright spot was that volunteers all came out to help in the cleanup effort.
“By the time I got here it was 20 minutes after the vandalization,” noted Eshelman. “There had been a group of volunteers who saw it happen, went to the store, bought the supplies, and were cleaning before anyone official came here so it was a beautiful show of community. It took eight hours to remove.”
Groups involved with the cleanup aren’t letting having to clean up dampen their spirits. A few say it’s helped them form a deeper bond.
“It showed that honestly through community and through love,” Johnson said. “It really triumphs overall. So that's how we're going to prevent this from happening in the future. If it does happen again, we stand in the gap again, collectively."
The Floyd statue will be on display till the end of October before it moves on to other cities.