On May 25, 2020, 46-year-old George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis while being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill. A video of the arrest that was filmed by a local teen, Darnella Frazier, swept the nation and the entire globe.
Now, the 17-year-old has been honoured with the 2020 PEN/Benenson Courage Award. PEN America bestowed the award upon Frazier at a virtual gala on December 8.
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.
"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 systemic anti-Black racism and violence at the hands of police,” said PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel
George Floyd passed away while a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck.
In the video, you can hear Floyd repeating "I can't breathe."
The teen's video spread across social media with virality and vigilance, leading to outrage around the world and spurring a major investigation which resulted in the arrest of the police officer responsible.
Three other officers were also dismissed.
“With courage and clear-eyed resolve, Darnella bore witness to a critical truth at great personal and emotional cost—and our country is in her debt,” said Jennifer Egan, author and president of PEN America’s Board of Trustees, in the press release.
Darnella Frazier is a senior in high school in Minneapolis. She loves singing, fashion and debate. She looks forward to attending college after graduation.
This 17-year-old played a significant role in the wide-spread anti-Black racism and anti-police brutality movement that the world bore witness to this spring.
This article's cover photo is for illustrative purposes only.