HOUSTON — There are several murals of George Floyd in Houston’s Third Ward because that’s where he grew up.
Floyd's murder amplified calls for police reform and social justice. People visit the murals to connect with him.
On Thursday, there was a push to look beyond the paint and see the people who give the Third Ward heart and soul.
One mural is painted on the back of the Scott Food Store, a lifeline for Houston’s Third Ward.
“Food is scarce out here. Like, you don’t see no Whole Foods out here,” Third Ward resident Taj Tucker said.
Before Floyd's murder, Tucker didn’t see many outsiders.
“It’s crazy because people come and they take pictures right here but a lot of times they be scared because they don’t know that this neighborhood is more than what meets the eye,” Tucker said. “This is a beautiful place.”
It’s a place where history is preserved.
Kim Hewitt, the owner of Brunch Box, created “The Wall.” It was born out of her heartache.
“I lost my friend to her husband. So her name started on the wall,” she said.
With each life well-lived or cut too short, residents want to make sure they are remembered.
“We want to make sure we don’t forget them so we put their name up there,” Robbie White, who grew up in the Third Ward, said. “Something that we can see every day.”
The Third Ward encompasses many city blocks. Historic buildings sitting in the shadow of downtown.
The neighborhood is home to the University of Houston and Texas Southern University as well as civil rights activists and musicians who’ve changed the game. Their beats blare through the streets, each lyric full of meaning.
“You get more promotion about the bad things that go on but this is a close-knit, this is a neighborhood,” Tucker said. “When we lose a neighbor it’s like we’re losing a family member.”
There’s a lot of pain, crime and struggle. But there’s hustle, and in the wake of Floyd’s death, hope.
“People are coming from out-of-state just to take a picture,” White said.
“But I want to tell everybody around the world, 'Don’t come for that one time, continue to come. Because we need to learn how to love each other all around, because this is affecting the world,'" Hewitt said.
Hewitt added that we have to heal as a whole and it starts by looking beyond the paint.
“If you just want to take a picture with a mural, that’s fine, too. We have 100 of them,” Tucker said. “But this is what made him. Everything around here, it made him. This is where he comes from.”
The Third Ward – a corner of Houston, vibrant and imperfect like the rest of our city, where people are eager to connect.
“I want them to know when they stop ... when they stop here that this is home. You’re OK. You’re OK over here,” Tucker said.