The grove, located in Cadman Plaza in Downtown Brooklyn, will celebrate the “homegoing” of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others killed by police officers across the country, according to the agency.
NYC Parks has also planted 19 new flowering trees that flank the park’s main entry path on Tillary Street, and has installed new banners marking the grove.
Juneteenth Grove now features a temporary painting of 19 existing benches in the colors of the Pan-African Flag: red, black and green.
On Friday, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said the agency stands in solidarity with the black community and the fight to end systemic racism.
“In my six years as commissioner, I have been committed to creating safe, inclusive spaces for staffers and parkgoers alike,” he saidt. “Striking at the heart of this commitment, we must acknowledge at this time the history of our nation, recognize the inequalities laid to bare in the course of the creation of our parks system, and recommit to be active agents for change, progress and equity.”
The agency will review park names across New York City, Silver said, with the goal of renaming “a selection” in each borough for black Americans with local, national or historical relevance.
The parks and their new names will be announced on November 2, which is also known as Black Solidarity Day.
The department will also temporarily change out its official park signs with specifically designed signs in the colors of the Pan-African Flag. The signs will be placed at select parks and will be on display through the end of the year.
The changes come after the Parks Department hosted private listening sessions with its workforce of more than 6,000 people, 34 percent of whom are black.
The sessions provided employees with a safe space to share the emotional challenges of dealing with the recent deaths across the country and the resulting protests.
“Our review of park names and the planting of our Juneteenth Grove is only the beginning of our renewed efforts to address inequities in our system for the city and for our employees,” Silver said. “We are doing this, if for no other reason, than our Black lives matter.”