ABOVE: George Floyd’s older sister, LaTonya Floyd, reacts to the unveiling of “Conversation with George” statue
On May 25th, marking the second anniversary of George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, County Judge Lina Hidalgo, U.S. Congressman Al Green, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Houston Police Department Police Chief Troy Finner, U.S. Congresswomen Sheila Jackson Lee and Lizzie Fletcher, the Jack Yates National Alumni Association, and Floyd’s family members, joined the community for the much-anticipated unveiling of the “Conversation with George” statue which is at Tom Bass Regional Park III, located at 15108 Cullen Boulevard.
Many of the Floyd family members were overtaken with emotion upon the unveiling of the statue, having seen it for the very first time. Floyd’s older sister LaTonya Floyd broke down in tears when viewing the life-size statue.
Renowned sculptor Adrienne Rison-Isom created the $110,000 statue that was donated to Harris County by local entrepreneur and philanthropist Dannette Davis of Kay Davis Associates.
Commissioner Ellis, whose Precinct One includes the Third Ward neighborhood where Floyd grew up, was among the first supporters of the project, along with Houston Councilwoman Carolyn Shabazz. Both worked alongside Davis and the Kay Davis In The Community Foundation to choose the perfect location. Other supporters were on hand to celebrate the unveiling of the one-of-a-kind statue.
“We are grateful to Dannette Davis for donating this public art that will be placed in a beautiful park for everyone to enjoy,” said Commissioner Ellis. “The statue will help Floyd’s name live forever as a reminder of police brutality and criminal justice reform.”
The sculpture depicts Floyd seated at an outdoor table welcoming everyone—all races and ethnic backgrounds—to have a seat and join him.
“The name George Floyd will forever resonate in Houston and worldwide. The senseless murder in Minneapolis of this son of the Cuney Homes in Third Ward served as the catalyst for policing reform and started conversations from the classroom to corporate America about race and social justice,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “I am grateful to Commissioner Ellis and the artist for making the ‘Conversation with George’ Statue available for the public. I hope that it serves as a gathering spot for reflection and action today and always.”
Davis said she wants visitors to take away the symbolism of Floyd being an approachable person who would “spark” conversation or friendship with anyone.
“We all witnessed the impact that George Floyd made on the world, but at the end of the day, he was a ‘regular guy’ with a few extraordinary talents. He was an athlete and artist, but he was also a father, a son, and a brother,” said Davis. “Just like all of us, he was a multi-dimensional human trying to find his way in this world.”
From the beginning of the project, Davis and Isom ensured that the Floyd Family Foundation were involved and approved the sculpture.
“The Floyd statue is a reminder that we still live in a country where Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police than white people,” said Commissioner Ellis. “Criminalization of Black and Brown communities is prioritized over community-based solutions. And racial disparities are deeply rooted in every fiber of the criminal legal system. We are all so sad that Floyd had to lose his life to help highlight those inequities for the entire world to see.”