Hero Of The Week

Portrait of a Hero: Darnella Frazier” by Rebecca Lazinger | Portrait painting, The art of storytelling, Colorful art

Darnella Frazier was seventeen years old when she recorded the last nine minutes of George Floyd’s life.

She woke up on May 25th, 2020 with the typical hopes and dreams of a teenage girl whose tomorrows possessed the quality of pristine musical notes ready to be born to sound. And that’s when history came calling on her with the expectation that she do more than simply bear witness to yet another senseless tragedy. That’s when history asked her to come of age, ready or not.

Darnella Frazier answered the call.

Walking to the store with her little cousin, she was introduced to George Floyd during his final moments on this earth. By the time she came to know the man, his fate was being decided by a Minneapolis police officer by the name of Derek Chauvin. In his nineteen years on the force, the veteran officer had been the recipient of almost as many complaints against him, with eighteen such cases being lodged. His penchant for being aggressive and combative resulted in two disciplinary actions, but it didn’t keep him off the streets. His career was underwritten by a mindset which holds that every person in uniform is beyond reproach, even when the facts say otherwise.

A narrative peddled by the law and order talking heads dismissed George Floyd out of hand. They painted him as a small time crook not worth our thoughts and prayers and they disparaged his name before he was even in the ground. A half century removed from that march on Selma and this was the best we could do? A black man pinned to the ground until he stopped breathing because he allegedly tried to pass a counterfeit twenty dollar bill while a President whose brand was screwing people out of millions campaigned on a platform that called for more of the same.

The truth was found in the camera phone recording of Darnella Frazier. A truth that could not be dismissed out of hand or disappeared. At seventeen years of age, this young lady produced one of the most important pieces of film in the history of American jurisprudence.

Life will never go back to what it looked like before Darnella stopped on that Minneapolis street corner in front of Cup Foods Grocery and pressed record. She knew she had to do something, because it just as easily could have been one of the men in her life pinned under the knee of Derek Chauvin. And yet, this heroic young lady provided heart breaking testimony at the trial in which she admitted to wondering if maybe she could have done more.

“It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life,”

The sad truth is that she would have been risking her freedom and maybe even her own life if she had done so. She did everything she could have done because there’s little chance Tuesday would have ended with Derek Chauvin being found guilty on three counts if not for the evidence she provided. She is the angel of a broken dream who provided us with light when darkness was prevailing.

That’s what heroes do.

 

 

And Martin Wept

This is where Heroes comes to play. Every Friday but for this one.

I tried to put a compilation together, I really did. And its not like there aren’t plenty of heroes to be had. Because there are always the good places in this world, and the good people who make them so. It’s what makes heroism such a special thing, the fact that it never asks for attention. And so Heroes is one of the many places in the online world where they are brought to light, so that we may see the best in all of us.

Only this week, I ain’t feeling it. That whole best in all of us business is what I’m talking about. I realize I could have mustered a favorite five from the online hive and culled honey out of the hopelessness that seems stuck to this latest bad news week in a year that’s given us far too many of them already. But it seemed absurd to run an exclamatory banner heralding heroes. And the idea of planting a superhero’s image in my prelude ran counter to the images we’ve all seen. And figuring out a song with which to cap things off? No. None of it felt right, not after a couple weeks worth of reminders that race is still a chasm and discord its relentless weed.

So this post is just me, catching my breath and trying to shake this feeling that things will never change. Even if I have been feeling that way ever since a cop pinned George Floyd to the ground for the last nine minutes of his life. And then everything that has come of it, happened. Again. And now it feels like that speech that Martin Luther King gave on the National Mall almost fifty seven years ago was some ancient psalm. As if the world has forgotten its most erstwhile minister.

And I’m so angry and sad and confused, because Mr King deserved so much more than this. Because we are the progeny he was talking about in that iconic speech of his, where black and white constructed a much more profitable conclusion that involved not some of us, but all of us.

The Us hasn’t happened. And neither could this Heroes post, because there’s a time to celebrate and then there are times such as these. When I call upon a holy spirit and I provide him with the humblest remark I can summon for a world that still hasn’t figured this whole thing out.

I’m sorry.