George Floyd ‘Changed the World,’ and Other Reflections

Readers discuss a proclamation by Mr. Floyd’s young daughter and note the key roles played by the judge and the teenager who took the nine-minute video.,

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To the Editor:

Re “Chauvin Guilty of Murder in Floyd’s Death” (front page, April 21):

Almost a year ago, I watched a video of George Floyd’s little daughter, Gianna, sitting on the shoulders of a close friend of her father, proudly stating, in an excited and raised voice: “Daddy changed the world!”

I fought back tears, because it seemed clear that this 6-year-old girl did not fully appreciate what it would mean to grow up without a father. She was caught up in the media fanfare of the moment, in the aftermath of the murder.

Now, with the guilty verdict, we have a closing bookend of sorts. Based on that verdict, and other events that are sure to follow in the society at large, it can indeed be said that this little girl spoke a truth when she said, “Daddy changed the world!”

Indeed he did.

David S. Lifton
Las Vegas

To the Editor:

Re “With a Cry of ‘We Matter,’ Catharsis and Relief” (front page, April 21):

I was moved to tears that George Floyd was given a measure of justice by the conviction of his killer, the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

But it is a hollow feeling in many ways because as a white person, I feel it is not my right to decree that our country in any way is cleansed of its racist ways, and we as a country applaud ourselves for entertaining such a belief at our own peril.

We are expecting our first grandchild this fall, and I could not help but imagine the fear for that child’s safety I would still feel if that child were Black.

Until the time arrives that such a child and its family can feel safe in their own homes or in public regardless of their race, I will refrain from breathing a sigh of relief. And until moments like the Chauvin conviction become the rule rather than the exception, I will refrain from celebrating.

Greg Joseph
Sun City, Ariz.

To the Editor:

Overlooked in the jubilation about the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is the enormous debt we owe to Judge Peter A. Cahill, who conducted this trial with such brilliant administration of the law.

From the beginning, with his decision about televising the trial so that we could all see and hear what the jury saw and heard, to his ruling that the jury be sequestered for deliberations, he oversaw the proceedings throughout firmly, calmly and in an unbiased manner that made us trust the fairness of the trial. We are so lucky to have had such a man at such a time.

Shirley Stuart
Berkeley, Calif.

To the Editor:

Cheering a jury verdict that results in a former police officer being led from the courtroom in handcuffs feels wrong; this is a moment that should generate deep sadness in our hearts and minds. This is no time for dancing in the streets. Our heads are lowered in shame because somewhere along the line a public servant who promised to protect and serve lost his way and went rogue.

David Jefferson Harris
New Brunswick, N.J.

To the Editor:

Re “Teenager’s Video Shaped Course of Trial” (news article, April 21):

Darnella Frazier’s role in the Chauvin convictions cannot be overstated. She had the presence of mind to shoot the video that was all the evidence anyone needed to know this cop committed murder. Without the video, I can’t imagine Derek Chauvin would have been convicted. Thank God there is a measure of justice for George Floyd.

Jay Margolis
Delray Beach, Fla.

To the Editor:

Re “Explaining the Chauvin Verdict to My Kids,” by Esau McCaulley (Op-Ed, April 21):

Dr. McCaulley’s heartfelt and profound essay on how to tell his son and his students the truths about our imperfect and often evil world, in order to inspire them to fight against those injustices, lists several vital ways to do so: “They can plan, organize, protest and march.”

But he left out another vital tool: They can vote. The more engaged and justice-seeking youth who vote, the more likely we will finally have local, state and federal governments enacting racially just laws. This includes voting out of office those officials who either pretend there are no such problems or, worse, who perpetuate and aggravate the injustices by their own bigotry.

James Berkman
Boston

To the Editor:

Re “Police Shooting in Columbus Leaves Black Girl, 15, Dead” (news article, April 21):

I hate to sound naive, but why do officers have to shoot to kill?

While we were awaiting the verdict in the George Floyd case, a teenager was fatally shot while brandishing a knife. Surely the officers could have subdued her without using lethal force.

Susan Gilbert
Exeter, N.H.

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