April 21, 2021
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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Canada’s new budget would fund a national childcare program, GM has a plan for the future of work, and there wouldn’t be justice for George Floyd without Darnella Frazier.
– Justice for George. “George Floyd, we did it.”
Those were the words yesterday of Darnella Frazier, the 17-year-old who filmed former police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes almost a year ago (she wrote them on Facebook, per CNN’s Omar Jimenez). Chauvin yesterday was convicted of Floyd’s murder, found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Without Frazier, that conviction—the first time a white police officer has been convicted of killing a Black man in the state of Minnesota, according to the ACLU—may never have arrived. Her video started a global movement. Its power is even more obvious when viewed alongside the statement Minnesota police first released about a “man [dying] after medical incident during police interaction.” Before Frazier’s video showed the world what happened, the official version of events was that a “suspect” “physically resisted officers” and “suffer[ed] medical distress.”
As much as Frazier has now changed the world, she bears a burden no teenage girl should have to. When she testified in Chauvin’s trial in March, Frazier recounted how she was traumatized by the experience; she encountered police’s detention of Floyd as she took her 9-year-old cousin to buy snacks. “I’ve stayed up nights apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life. But it’s not what I should have done,” Frazier said on the stand in March. “It’s what [Chauvin] should have done.” (There’s a GoFundMe to support her.) In her Facebook post yesterday, Frazier said she “cried so hard” as her “heart was beating so fast” in the hour before the verdict was announced.
Lawmakers, activists, and Floyd’s family members thanked Frazier for bearing witness to Chauvin’s murder of Floyd as they addressed the nation yesterday. President Joe Biden, in his remarks, referenced “a brave young woman with a smartphone camera.”
Vice President Kamala Harris focused her speech on the core issue: systemic racism. “Here’s the truth about racial injustice: It is not just a Black America problem. Or a people of color problem,” she said, speaking before Biden took the podium. “It is a problem for every American. It is keeping us from fulfilling the promise of liberty and justice for all.”
The Floyd family is clear: Floyd should be alive, and that would be better justice than a guilty verdict. And yet, after speaking with the Floyd family yesterday, Biden referenced what the family has shared on behalf of Floyd’s 7-year-old daughter, Gianna: Daddy changed the world. “Let that be his legacy,” Biden said.
It’s Floyd’s legacy—and in a different way, it’s Darnella Frazier’s.
The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Claire Zillman.