More Honors for Darnella Frazier

As is now widely known, on May 25, 2020, Darnella Frazier, a 17-year-old high school student happened to be at the  Minneapolis corner of 38th  and Chicago Avenue and observed Minneapolis policemen restrain a Black man on the street pavement by a police car. She had the presence of mind and courage to get out her cell phone and make a video recording of what turned out to be the last minutes of George Floyd’s life.[1]

For these actions in 2020 she received the PEN/Benenson Courage Award from PEN America. [2]

On May 25, 2021, the first anniversary of the death of Mr. Floyd, she penned a beautiful tribute to him on FACEBOOK that subsequently was movingly read on MSNBC by Caroline Randall Williams, an award-winning poet, young adult novelist, cookbook author and the Writer-in-Residence of Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University.[3]

On June 11, 2021, she received another award for her judgment and courage. This was a special Pulitzer Prize that recognized her for “courageously reporting the murder of George Floyd, a video that spurred protests against police brutality, around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quest for truth and justice.”  In announcing this award, Mindy Marques Gonzalez, the co-chair of the Pulitzer Board, said this video was “transformative” and “jolted viewers and spurred protests against police brutality around the world.” [4]

This Pulitzer award was applauded by Roy Peter Clark, a senior scholar at the Poynter Institute and a five-time Pulitzer winner himself. He said, “”There she was, at 17, sort of witnessing an injustice and she stood there in the face of threats and captured that video. It would be hard to select, even from the work of professional journalists over recent years or decades, a 10-minute video that had as profound an impact as this young woman’s video did.”

On June 24, 2021, Ms.Frazier will receive the Human Rights Defender Award from the Minneapolis-based Advocates for Human Rights. The initial announcement of this award stated she “bravely documented the murder of George Floyd. Her quick thinking sparked a worldwide reckoning with systemic racism and police violence.”[5]


[1] Witnessing, (April 26, 2021).

[2] Ibid.

[3] Darnella Frazier’s Continued Witnessing, (May 26, 2021).

[4] Columbia University, 2021 Pulitzer Prize Winners (June 11, 2021); Forliti (AP),Teen who recorded Floyd’s arrest, death, wins Pulitzer nod, Wash. Post (June 11, 2021); Hill (AP), Pulitzers honor coronavirus pandemic, US protest coverage, Wash. Post (June 11, 2021); Izadi, Darnella Frazier, the teen who filmed George Floyd’s murder, awarded a citation, Wash. Post (June 11, 2021).

[5] Advocates for Human Rights, 2021 Virtual Human Rights Awards Dinner.

Successful Democratic Presidential Forum

Last night MSNBC broadcast the two-hour “First in the South Democratic Presidential Forum” from Rock Hill, South Carolina.[1]


Rachel Maddow, the avowed liberal MSNBC commentator, hosted the separate interviews of the three candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016: Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

Clinton, Sanders, O'Malley & Maddow
Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley & Maddow

I think any objective viewer would have to conclude that this was a more successful format for focusing on the substantive issues than any of the debates for the Republican presidential candidates. The success also owes a lot to Rachel’s intelligence, preparation and skill at questioning.

As a liberal Democrat, I thought all three candidates demonstrated they were qualified to be president.


[1] Chozick, Bernie Sanders Courts Black Voters at South Carolina Forum, N.Y. Times (Nov. 7, 2015)  Lerer & Barrow, With attacks on Clinton, Democratic Race enters new phase, Wash. Post (Nov. 6, 2015)  Phillip, Clinton refrains from attacks while bearing the brunt of her opponents,’ Wash. Post (Nov. 6, 2015); Jacobs, Hillary Clinton seeks to outflank liberal rivals at Democratic forum, Guardian (Nov. 7, 2015). The full forum as well as headlined excerpts are available online.