“My daddy!” are two words that, arguably, identify the second-most important person in the life of a child. Sometimes he is the most important. For many, “Daddy” is the first word spoken and, from all of my discussions on the matter, brings great joy to the person called by that name. From all visuals we have seen, George Floyd took great delight and pleasure in fatherhood.
Then-presidential candidate Joe Biden met George Floyd’s family and his then-6-year-old daughter, Gianna, on June 8, 2020, one day before his burial. Biden was impressed with the conversation he had with Gianna and touched by the love she expressed for her father. We know that to be true because Biden told us so. I can only imagine that the loving way that she spoke of her father touched him to the core at a common point of understanding. Biden is a father and has heard the word “Daddy,” “Dad” or “Father” uttered from the mouth of a child — his child — expressing all of the love, trust, faith, concern and pride that child could muster.
When Gianna said to Biden with the pure faith of a child, “My daddy’s going to change the world,” she knew it and she meant it. Biden knew it, too. True to the utterances of an innocent child, George Floyd, or at least the manner of his death and the rightful attention given to it, is changing the world before our eyes. We who consume the details of the Derek Chauvin trial, if we are genuinely receptive to the truth, will learn many lessons from it.
For many, we are learning long-overdue lessons on the subject of human physiology. Our high school biology and health teachers would be proud! Most of us are just grateful that others have acquired the professional expertise to refute the ridiculous supposition that George Floyd was, in some absurd way, responsible for his own death.
We have learned that principled compassion still exists. Those bystanders who gathered in unity to offer direct protestation against an obvious act of cruelty and brutality demonstrated, by word and deed, that there is no “correctness” in silent suffering or ignoring injustice.
We have learned a lesson of character and accountability. Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, and those in the administration he leads, have made the determination that honesty and justice mean far more than a nebulous “Blue wall of silence.” By refusing to support the misdeeds of a former officer, they set a new national standard for managing police misconduct. We can only pray that others see the strength in his decision and model their conduct accordingly.
The lesson that continues in its crystal clarity is that there are those among us whose human callousness and disregard for the lives of people of color reaches demonic proportion. We must realize that many ‘out there’ support Chauvin and see George Floyd as human rubbish who was correctly discarded. We cannot accept this type of thinking or allow it to manifest in the conduct of Chauvin “wannabes.” OUR LIVES DO MATTER!
As of this writing, the trial of Derek Chauvin is not over. The jury has not rendered a verdict. Much of the world anxiously awaits the outcome. Both sides of the case must be completed, and the jury must then decide who, in fact, is responsible for the death of George Floyd. Essentially, they must decide if the allegation of passing a counterfeit $20 note is sufficiently criminal to deserve the death penalty immediately administered without benefit of judge or jury.
We are a little more than two months away from Father’s Day. I take pride in confirming for Gianna that her daddy HAS changed the world!
Williams is president of the National Congress of Black Women.