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'Daddy is in heaven now': Gianna Floyd's mother explains why daughter wasn't at memorial

Roxie Washington, the mother of George Floyd's daughter, opened up about how 6-year-old Gianna has been dealing with her father's death.
A family and a community try to pull themselves back together after the death of George Floyd
George Floyd's daughter, Gianna Floyd, 6, gives her mother, Roxie Washington, a hug during a press conference at Minneapolis City Hall on June 2, 2020.Leila Navidi / Star Tribune via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Last Thursday, George Floyd's family and close friends gathered at his memorial service in Minneapolis to honor his life, which ended on May 25 in Minneapolis police custody after an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

Not in attendance, however, was Floyd's 6-year-old daughter, Gianna Floyd, who recently fell into the spotlight after a viral video showed her exclaiming, "Daddy changed the world." On Tuesday, Gianna's mother, Roxie Washington, shared on TODAY why Gianna missed the ceremony.

Recalling when she was discussing the memorial with her daughter, Washington told NBC News' Morgan Chesky: "(Gianna) said, 'Well, is he going to be alive?' And I said, 'I told you your daddy is in heaven now,' and she said, 'If he's not alive, then I'm not going.'"

She continued, "I ask God to give me her pain because I don't want her to feel it."

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Attendees of Floyd's memorial service included his younger brother, Philonise Floyd, and Rev. Al Sharpton, who delivered the eulogy.

"George Floyd’s story is the story of black folks," Sharpton told mourners. "Because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed of being — because you kept your knee on our necks."

Philonise Floyd added, "Everybody wants justice. We want justice for George ... He’s going to get it, he’s going to get it.”

At a press event last week, Washington also spoke candidly about her loss and her daughter's.

“I wanted everybody to know that this is what those officers took from me,” Washington said with Gianna next to her. “At the end of the day, they get to go home and be with their families. Gianna does not have a father."

“He will never see her grow up, graduate, he will never walk her down the aisle," she continued. "If there's a problem she's having and she needs her dad, she does not have that anymore.

“I'm here for my baby, and I'm here for George because I want justice for him. I want justice for him because he was good. No matter what anybody thinks, he was good,” she said, later adding that Floyd was a good father. “He loved her, he loved her so much."