The cellphone recording of George Floyd’s murder has not only been viewed around the world tens of thousands of times, but it also helped reignite a new wave of the Black Civil Rights Movement in the U.S., renewing calls for improved social justice and police reform across the country.
And now, the teen who recorded it — Darnella Frazier — has been awarded a special citation and honorary Pulitzer Prize for her recording such an important and consequential moment in American history.
Joe Hernandez of NPR reported on the announcement from the Pulitzer Board on Friday, June 11, when “committee officials who give out the prestigious prize in journalism and the arts said Frazier’s recording highlighted ‘the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quests for truth and justice.’”
— The Pulitzer Prizes (@PulitzerPrizes) June 11, 2021
In addition to its role in helping to usher in a global protest movement against police violence, Frazier’s video was a key piece of evidence in the trial of Floyd’s killer, Derek Chauvin, and ultimately helped lead to his conviction. Without it, the trial may have ended very differently.
In a recent Facebook post published on the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death, Frazier said she was proud of herself for recording Floyd’s murder, even though it became a “traumatic life-changing experience.”
Before the Pulitzer announcement, Frazier had already received incredible praise for her actions from others, including President Biden, film director Spike Lee and Anita Hill.
In a tweet during the Chauvin trial, journalist Ann Marie Lipinski wrote: “As the prosecutors congratulate each other, thinking of young Darnella Frazier. There is no case without her. The video record she made is one of the most important civil rights documents in a generation.”
Following the announcement of her Pulitzer honor, Twitter exploded with thousands of people singing praise for Frazier, her video and its overall role in history.
“How wonderful, extraordinary and painful. Well done, Pulitzer Committee. One day our children will get to be children. Until then, reward their courage & contribution to truth-telling,” tweeted Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
“The courage of our youth to hold people with power accountable, no matter how hard or painful, gives me hope. The strength of #DarnellaFrazier helped change the world,” added New York Times best-selling author and businesswoman, Valerie Jarrett
“Congrats to a young woman who helped change the world, #DarnellaFrazier, the teenager who filmed the killing of George Floyd,” tweeted the National Association of Black Journalists.
Kevin Merida, Executive Editor of the Los Angeles Times and a member of the Pulitzer Board, agreed, saying the announcement was “perhaps the most meaningful thing we did as a Pulitzer Board” because it signaled the need for all people to become more vigilant and to aid as additional watchdogs in their community when inappropriate actions take place.
Perhaps the most meaningful thing we did as a #Pulitzer Board. “For courageously recording 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.” https://t.co/tjCSvwOmag
— Kevin Merida (@meridak) June 11, 2021