The Black Lives Matter movement was triggered by a video of a police officer pressing his knee down on the neck of a black man. This act eventually led to the death of 46-year old African-American, George Floyd. 17-year old Darnella Frazier captured the inhumane act on camera.
Frazier was out with her 9-year old cousin to the nearby Cup Foods when she saw George Floyd getting detained. She heard Floyd pleading with the officer to let him breathe while the officer paid no heed. At that moment, she did one thing - record the event.
After recording the gory ordeal, she shared the video on social media platforms where it got the world's attention and gave birth to the BLM campaign. For that single brave act, she is getting honored with an award for her courage.
A Revolutionary Campaign To End Racial Discrimination Against Blacks
The Black Lives Matter campaign was unlike any similar campaigns in the past. It totally engulfed America with an unprecedented turn up by both blacks and whites.
George Floyd was brutally murdered in broad daylight by a police officer which made addressing issues of racial discrimination in America essential once again.
Without the video recorded by Frazier, this incident would have gone unnoticed as many other similar incidents have. She deserves the credit she is getting as she was awarded for her courage virtually.
George Floyd To The World
George Floyd was accused of buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. The 46-year old man was seen struggling to breathe as three Minneapolis police officers pinned him to the ground with one of them pressing his knees on Floyd's neck.
In the video clip, he kept repeating the words "I can't breathe". This became a chant for all who turned up on the streets to protest against racial discrimination against blacks in America.
Officer Derek Chauvin had his knees on Floyd's neck for at least 8 minutes and 15 seconds says the New York Times. According to BBC reports, Floyd died on the spot as paramedics found no sign of life on arrival. An hour later, he was officially pronounced dead by the Hennepin County Medical Center.
All thanks go to Darnella Frazier for capturing this ordeal and publicizing it. It once again gave voice to campaigns about police brutality against blacks and other injustices. To acknowledge her bravery, Frazier was honored by the literary and human rights organization, PEN America.
At the very least Officer Chauvin and the other two officers were arrested and dismissed. This in itself is a win for the BLM movement.
Praises For Darnella Frazier
The CEO of PEN America praised Frazier for her "exceptional courage" in a statement released by the organization. She said:
"With nothing more than a cell phone and sheer guts, Darnella changed the course of history in this country, sparking a bold movement demanding an end to systematic anti-Black racism and violence at the hands of police."
She further said:
"Without Darnella's presence of mind and readiness to risk her own safety and wellbeing, we may never have known the truth about George Floyd's murder."
In response, Frazier said:
"I never would have imagined that out of my whole 17 years of living that this will be me. It's just a lot to take in, but I couldn't say thank you enough for everything that has been coming to me."
Frazier's humility is also worthy of emulation. Her attorney, Seth Cobin, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Frazier does not see herself as a hero but as a "17-year old high school student with a boyfriend and a job at the mall, who did the right thing."