Lauren Aung '24

Internship: George Floyd Global Memorial
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Program: Faith-Based Internship Program
Concentration: Politics

Tell us a little bit about your summer internship.

I interned at the George Floyd Global Memorial in Minneapolis, right next to George Floyd Square. It was created by members of George Floyd’s family, in addition to community members in the 30th and Chicago area in order to conserve the offerings and art left throughout George Floyd Square. 

George Floyd Square is a two-block by two-block area, centered around Cup Foods where George Floyd was lynched. It contains eight memorials to different black people who have been killed by gun violence in the U.S., in addition to an explosion of protest art and offerings left at the different memorials. 

George Floyd Global Memorial has over 5,000 individual offerings of street art, drawings by children, protest signs, rocks, letters, paintings, flowers and meaningful gifts. In addition to the conservation efforts, they also do community engagement and community organizing for racial justice.

What made you choose this internship?

My interests lie at the heart of media theory, archives and racial justice in the U.S. When I saw the listing for GFGM on the Office of Religious Life website it immediately piqued my interest. I had already done an internship through ProCES last summer where I was able to gain a bit of archival experience. This time around, I wanted to do something racial justice oriented and I was very lucky to get the internship and it was a great experience.

How has this internship impacted you both personally and professionally?

This internship was really transformative for me. It solidified justice as the value that I want to center my future career around, and the ability to be immersed within this particular activist community and the ability to just see them work tirelessly for justice was really truly inspiring.

What were the most memorable moments from your internship? 

One of the main tasks that I had was organizing pilgrimages through George Floyd Square and this one time there was a group of people from Chile who were coming to visit the square. They had specifically come in order to connect with people from GFS because one of their core members was the first martyr in the Chilean revolution. He had been killed because he was black.

The group wanted to come in order to express solidarity at this sort of international persistent problem of anti-blackness, particularly enacted by state violence. I was also able to meet and talk with Ms. Angela who is George Floyd’s aunt, which was an incredibly poignant and powerful experience for me because I was able to witness the generative power of grief and community. 

How will this experience inform your future career steps?

I learned a lot of people skills. I interacted with a lot of different people, whether it was community members or people coming and visiting the square. People from all over the world come to Minneapolis as an inspiration for racial justice and in order to pay their respects to George Floyd. 

So, just being able to connect with other people and be able to empathize with people’s struggles was one of the most important things I learned. I am planning to go into civil rights law after graduation, so continuing to hold justice at the heart of what I'm doing is very important to me.