WHO WE ARE
Memorialize the Movement is a grassroots organization that was created after the murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed. The purpose of our work in preserving the plywood murals is to continue to shed light on the issues of police accountability and racial inequality by uplifting the voices of the people who left powerful messages on the boards during the Minneapolis uprising of 2020.
Through this work we are bringing the Black narrative to the forefront of this ongoing fight for justice. So often in history Black people are not allowed to tell our own stories. How our history gets told is often decided by white historians and museums and often told in ways that minimize our oppression in order to make it palatable to people who don't want to acknowledge how systematic racism affects Black and Brown people in this country. MTM is a mirror to those institutions. Through the messages on the boards we force historians, museums, governments, and communities to face the reality of our pain and our collective trauma in the hopes that understanding will lead to positive change.
MTM is also dedicated to uplifting BIPOC artists, creatives, and arts organizations. The sad reality is that white artists took up space last summer. While Black artists were mourning the death of Mr. Floyd, white artists took to the boards to create elaborate murals and beautiful messages about a struggle that was not their own. When Black artists finally gained the capacity to express themselves, there was very little space left for them to do so. That is why we are dedicated to curating spaces specifically for Black and Brown artists to create new murals. We want to be an organization that centers BIPOC creatives and continues to provide opportunities for artistic expression and healing.
Over the last year MTM has led an ever-growing team of volunteers around the Twin Cities to collect the plywood murals from businesses and artists to be preserved and archived. Since we began in June of 2020, we have collected over 800 boards which are now being stored in a climate-controlled storage space until we can establish a more permanent space. Our long-term plan for this art is to build a permanent and public memorial space so that this Black narrative is preserved and accessible to the everyone.
Meet The Founder
Leesa Kelly - Founder | Executive Director
Leesa is a Chicago Native who moved to Minnesota in 2017. When she is not collecting and preserving the plywood murals, she is writing for her blog, leesalives, or facilitating self care workshops that inspire and encourage BIWOC to center themselves in times of crisis. She believes in dismantling oppressive systems and rebuilding new systems that work for ALL people.