In the aftermath of George Floyd’s tragic killing by the Minneapolis Police on May 25th, protests have been held (and are continuing to be held) nationwide to stand against police brutality and racism, and come together as a collective voice toward hopeful change. In a video posted to Instagram by former NBA star Stephen Jackson—a childhood and longtime friend of the late Floyd— Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, is seen at a protest, onlooking as people take to the streets en masse. “Daddy changed the world!” she proclaims, a smile on her face.
Gianna sits atop Jackson’s shoulders in the clip, watching protests in Minneapolis and representing an ounce of light and hopefulness toward the future in what has been an incredibly dark and tragedy-filled week. Jackson, in particular, has been an outspoken voice for justice and advocate for Floyd’s in the days since his death. Jackson has spoken publicly on Floyd in multiple venues, referring to his late friend as “my twin,” sharing what he’s heard from major public figures like LeBron James, and speaking out alongside Roxie Washington, Gianna’s mother, at Minneapolis Town Hall.
“That’s right GiGi “Daddy changed the world” 😢😢😢😢😢 George Floyd the name of change. #justiceforgeorgefloyd #ivehadenough” Jackson wrote in his post captioning the video. “Love to all who have love for all ✊🏿✊🏻✊🏾✊🏼✊🏽✊”
In a separate post, Jackson also shared the link to a GoFundMe set up to help Gianna, which has already raised nearly $600,000. “Don’t worry Twin on my soul I got GiGi. Know dat,” he wrote. “I am my brothers keeper and I got a lot of brothers. #justiceforgeorgefloyd #ivehadenough Rest Easy Twin LINK IN BIO”
Stephen Jackson walking around Minneapolis with George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, on his shoulders.
📷 skrptz/IG pic.twitter.com/Ocv8WHhEpx
Earlier on Tuesday, Washington—Gianna’s mother—spoke out at Minneapolis City Hall. “I don’t have a lot to say, because I can’t get my words together right now,” she said through tears. “But I wanted everybody to know that this is what those officers took. At the end of the day, they get to go home and be with their families. Gianna does not have a father.”
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Washington continued through tears, putting into real terms how Floyd’s murder not only meant the loss of his life, but impacted the life of this little girl just beginning her own.
“He will never see her grow up, graduate, he will never walk her down the aisle,” Washington said. “If there’s a problem she’s having and she needs her dad, she does not have that anymore.”
And while Gianna reflecting on the immediate impact that her father’s death has had on the country is truly a moving moment, the fact that this remains an insurmountable tragedy cannot be overlooked. Gianna is only 6 years old—she recognizes that something has changed, but she will have to go through the rest of her life without her father. She will understand and deal with that in her own way, in her own time. But it’s something that can never be undone.
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