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Crowds gather for festival, day of action at George Floyd Square

The People's Power Love Fest kicked off with door knocking to gain additional support for an effort to change the police department.

Community members gathered at George Floyd Square in south Minneapolis on Sunday for the People's Power Love Fest, a day of action and celebration. 

The event, which was put on by Yes 4 Minneapolis, was part of the coalition's effort to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new public safety division following Floyd's death on May 25, 2020.

In addition to raising awareness and collecting signatures for their People's Petition, the Love Fest included speakers, live music and performances at 38th and Chicago.

Activists leading the calls for justice in Floyd's name say the display provides a counterpoint to recent media reports about the "autonomous zone" and comments by the city's mayor and police chief that focused primarily on crime at the intersection.

Related: MPD chief calls for reopening of George Floyd Square, says 'enough is enough'

City barricades have blocked off George Floyd Square since May 25, 2020, to prevent vehicles from going through the area that has served as a gathering place for healing, a memorial to Floyd and a symbol of resistance.

The City of Minneapolis says it won't remove the barricades until after Derek Chauvin's murder trial, which is underway, and says it is working with the community to create a permanent memorial at 38th and Chicago

A city survey about the future memorial found 16% of residents and businesses within a half-mile of the intersection demand "justice" before any changes are made to George Floyd Square, the Star Tribune reports

Meanwhile, 81% of people surveyed said they supported one of two designs the city proposed earlier this year, and 3% say the square should be reopened without any memorial. 

People's Petition

The main goal behind the event was to gain more support and signatures for Yes 4 Minneapolis' People's Petition to change how public safety is handled in Minneapolis. 

The coalition of partner organizations aims to establish a new public safety department, which has a focus on mental health by employing a mental health official to join officers on police calls. 

The petition is the first step to letting Minneapolis voters decide what the future of policing looks like, Yes 4 Minneapolis' website says.

"Just to open the door to allow for more options which would include mental health officials and social workers," canvasser Leslie Alvarez said, according to FOX 9. "Change is scary… change is something different that takes a while to get used to; but the biggest thing is we don’t want to completely get rid of the police, we just want to open that door."

Before the aforementioned celebrations, the People's Power Love Fest began Sunday at 11 a.m. with volunteers and activists gathering for a rally in George Floyd Square and then heading off to door knock in nearby neighborhoods to get signatures for the petition.

According to MPR News, Yes 4 Minneapolis hoped to get the final 500 signatures of its 20,000 goal to get the amendment on the November ballot. 

In order to establish a new public safety department in Minneapolis, the city charter needs to be amended. And to do that, voters in Minneapolis would have to approve a charter amendment.

Related: Poll finds majority of Minneapolis residents favor replacing police department.

Yes 4 Minneapolis is just one of several initiatives that aim to reform the Minneapolis Police Department following Floyd's death, including some by current Minneapolis City Council members

Efforts to get a charter amendment on the ballot last November failed. 

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