George Floyd’s death that has resulted in charges against four Minneapolis police officers shocked and outraged a nation that continues to protest police brutality and speak out for civil rights. It also left one little girl without a father.
Floyd left behind a daughter, Gianna, 6. Dr. Bernice King, who was 5 when her father, Martin Luther King Jr., died in 1968, says she can sympathize with the road Gianna may have ahead of her after losing a parent in the public eye.
“Well, my heart always goes to his 6-year-old daughter,” she said Friday on the 3rd hour of TODAY when asked what stood out to her most as she watched Thursday’s memorial for Floyd.
King says Gianna is in her thoughts while she copes with her father’s death.
“I was 5 when my father was assassinated and I can’t stop thinking about what her journey may be like now without her father and having to process through the viciousness of how he was killed and the images,” she said.
“Today, so often I see images that I don’t want to see, and I hope people are sensitive to that, of my father laid down in the casket. As we go forward, it was necessary for it to be shown to the American public.”
While Floyd’s case has become a landmark moment in the civil rights movement, King wants everyone not to forget the effect his death has on those closest to him.
“But I hope people remember that there’s a real family behind this tragedy as we go forward and that we continue to pray for that family as we go forward. And other families. They’re not the only families,” she said. “This is representative of so much that has happened over the past few years and so, for the 6-year-old, I’m praying for her, I’m praying for the entire family right now.”
Gianna herself has been vocal after her father's death. A video of her earlier this week saying "Daddy changed the world" in Minneapolis went viral.
“I wanted everybody to know that this is what those officers took from me,” her mother, Roxie Washington, said at a press event that same day. “At the end of the day, they get to go home and be with their families. Gianna does not have a father.”