“We can change the world”

Christos staff proudly posing with the painting (left to right) are Makayla, Celia, Chris & Laura

During the riots of the summer of 2020, many businesses in South Minneapolis boarded up their windows to protect their property. Christos Greek Restaurant is located just a few blocks from what later became known as George Floyd Square. As the anger and frustration that followed the killing of George Floyd swept through the neighborhoods, we felt the need to board up as well.

Crowds of protesters marched down Nicollet Avenue in front of Christos on several occasions. During one of these protests, a young man entered the restaurant and asked to see the manager. When Carol came out to meet him, he asked if he could paint a message on the plywood boards covering the windows outside. The young man was very polite but also very determined. Carol gave him permission and off he went. Mohamed took a picture of him at work. After a while, he came back inside and asked Carol if she would come out to see his creation. Carol was very impressed. She chatted with him for a while, offered him a meal, and sent him on his way.

The protests on Nicollet Avenue were peaceful and no damage was done. Soon after, we took the boards down. Our contractor threw them in the back of our storage room, intending to repurpose them. In fact, one of the boards has since been used for another project and eventually put back, only in two pieces. Luckily, the artwork was not damaged in the process.

For the next year and a half, the boards collected dust until Gus came across them as he rummaged through looking for something else. He took them out, lined them up against a wall, and quietly admired them for a time. It appeared that the artist wanted to convey the anguish caused by the killing of George Floyd, but also hope for a better world. He got these feelings across ever so eloquently in this colorful, turbulent, compelling piece.

Rather than letting this astonishing work of art languish in a dark, dusty storage room, we agreed it would be only fair to share it with our customers. It now hangs on the back wall of our dining room, raw and unvarnished, a reminder of the issues unleashed by the killing of George Floyd and of our duty to continue to address them.

The Christos Team

April 2022