Jack Yates High School in Houston, Texas, unveiled the mural in honor of George Floyd. It was painted by artist Jonah Elijah and a team of volunteers.
On Saturday, Jack Yates High School in Houston, Texas, unveiled a mural in honor of George Floyd, the unarmed Black man who was murdered by a White police office and sparked the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement across the world. Floyd was a former student at the high school. The mural, stretching across two blocks in front of the school, was commissioned by Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, the Houston Society for Change, and 88 C.H.U.M.P., a non-profit social activism organization that was launched by Floyd's football teammates. The mural features the number 88, his number when he played football at the high school, CNN reports.
Principal Tiffany Guillory of @JackYatesHigh says: “This mural makes me smile. It will remind my students daily that they matter. A Jack Yates High School graduate, from our Third Ward Community, has made an impact on the world.” pic.twitter.com/aJnXxGCRON— Houston ISD (@HoustonISD) February 6, 2021
Carl Davis, chairman for the Houston Society for Change, announced during the dedication ceremony over the weekend, "We come to celebrate the life and legacy of our hometown hero, Mr. George Floyd." The chairman called Floyd and his life a "guiding light" in the community. He added that it was imperative that the mural be placed in front of the school in order "to inspire students and give a voice to the struggle for social justice in Houston and the world." Principal Tiffany Guillory of the high school added, "This mural makes me smile. It will remind my students daily that they matter. A Jack Yates High School graduate, from our Third Ward Community, has made an impact on the world." The mural was unveiled during Black History Month, which is a notable move, as Commissioner Ellis pointed out.
As the ceremony begins, @HISDSupe is joined by Principal Tiffany Guillory and HISD Board President Patricia Allen, as well as trustees Myrna Guidry and Kathy Blueford-Daniels. pic.twitter.com/902IT62Jva— Houston ISD (@HoustonISD) February 6, 2021
"It's important for all of us... to say George Floyd's name," he affirmed. "But we don't stop there. The criminal justice in America and in Harris County is replete with racism, is replete with inequities and there are far too many people who look like George Floyd going to county jail who ought to be somewhere else." The mural was developed by artist Jonah Elijah, another alum of Jack Yates High School. The artist's work is best known for capturing "Black life in America and addressing controversial issues that affect the African American community." Other volunteers also helped out, the Houston Independent School District revealed in a Facebook post.
“Today we are here to celebrate the life—and the death—of George Floyd. This is a public statement that his life and death were not in vain. It’s made me a better mayor, and the Houston Police Department to be a better department.” —@SylvesterTurner pic.twitter.com/cARByjPy5O— Houston ISD (@HoustonISD) February 6, 2021
In a video posted by the school district, Floyd's football teammates and classmates can be seen releasing balloons into the air in his honor following the unveiling of the mural. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner stated, "This is another public statement that the life and death of George Floyd [are] not in vain. Because of his life and his death, reforms are being made... all over the country. Even right here in the city of Houston, we are learning to do things better." While most comments on artist Elijah's work were less than savory, one Facebook user wrote, "Way to go, young man! May you enjoy the fruits of your labor!"