Last Updated on November 25, 2020
A Holocaust museum in Florida has opened up a photographical exhibit dedicated to George Floyd, an alleged fraudster and convicted felon who died in police custody earlier this year, receiving criticism and derision online as a result.
The Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center in Orlando, Florida, is housing the exhibit, entitled “Uprooting Prejudice: Faces of Change,” which features 45 photos of different individuals reacting to the death of George Floyd. Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody in May this year, with his death sparking riots, looting, and civil unrest across the country.
Lisa Bachman, the assistant director of the Holocaust Center, said the exhibit was designed so that people could come and “look these individuals in the eye”:
So you come face to face with people, so you can really experience the feelings that they were feeling. You don’t just see this exhibit. You feel it. The expressions and thoughts of each person photographed tells a story that has a very universal message. It is one that can heal and bring us together. It shows us we are not alone in our thinking.
The photographs, which include an image of the father of Michael Brown Jr, who was shot while running towards a police officer in 2014, were all taken by John Noltner. “I hope that through these stories and these faces, you can understand the events of our day in a new way,” Noltner said.
I hope you can challenge some of your own preconceptions and I hope you can see the humanity of each and every person. When I photograph a person – no matter who they are – I strive to leave a simple message: I see you. I hear you. And you matter. When George Floyd was killed that happened 11.6 miles north of my house and I knew with the piece of my mind’s goal being to hear voices that aren’t always heard as well as they should be. I knew that I wanted to go to that site.
The reaction to the exhibit online was not positive, with many arguing that it “waters down the message” of the museum, “trivializes” the Holocaust, and puts the American police system on the same footing as the Nazi regime.
Holocaust museums including images of George Floyd
Waters down their message behind repairing
Can’t compare the two
— ELIJAH SCHAFFER (@ElijahSchaffer) November 22, 2020
There absolutely is a place for this photographic memorial to Floyd. The images have merit, its creator is well-intentioned & America is a free country. But not at this location. That's all I'm saying. It's politicising and positioning is all wrong
— Martin Daubney (@MartinDaubney) November 22, 2020
George Floyd is added to a Holocaust museum? That trivializes and distorts the Holocaust and its six million Jewish victims. And it grotesquely implies that American police are Nazis. https://t.co/zNsG0bqyEe
— Ezra Levant 🍁🚛 (@ezralevant) November 22, 2020
Attaching George Floyd to the Holocaust lays the groundwork for responding to cops/white people with levels of violence that would normally be reserved by real Nazis. It’s far more than inappropriate. It’s mentally preparing people to become exterminators.
— SpiritualBreak (@SpiritualBreak) November 22, 2020
The Florida Holocaust Museum in St Petersburg, a separate institution from the Memorial Center located in Orlando, released a statement on the exhibit, as some online commentators had confused the two.
“For decades, The Florida Holocaust Museum has honored the memory of millions of innocents who suffered or died in the Holocaust, and we believe no comparisons should be made between other historical or current events and the Holocaust,” the statement reads.
— Odi F. (@odifass) November 23, 2020
National File reported in September about “The Free State of George Floyd,” an “autonomous zone” set up around the site of Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, which included a memorial for Floyd, and directions for cyclists to “prioritise space for BIPOC community members and visitors.”
Minneapolis residents have now set up police a police no-go zone and it looks like they’re calling it “The Free State Of George Floyd.” pic.twitter.com/js7d7FpTTq
— Kyle Hooten (@KyleHooten2) September 18, 2020