People around the world watched live on Tuesday as the verdict was read in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd. But probably none were as invested in the moment as Gianna Floyd. The 7-year-old was at the courthouse as the news came down that Chauvin, who was accused of killing her father last year, had been convicted on all three counts levied against him.
After the verdict was read, Floyd’s family and attorneys gathered outside of the courtroom to make a statement. During which, Antonio Romanucci, one of the attorneys working on the case, said that Floyd should be “alive somewhere, playing with Gianna on a playground,” according to The Washington Post. As he spoke, the girl climbed into a relative’s arms.
Gianna also received a phone call from President Joe Biden on Tuesday, according to Today. During the call, Biden reportedly spoke of a conversation he had when he first met then 6-year-old Gianna. “She said to me, and I’ll never forget it, ‘Daddy changed the world,’” Biden said during a televised speech after the verdict was read. “I told her this afternoon, ‘Daddy did change the world.’”
The world “met” Gianna last summer when a clip of her from a June press event went viral. In the clip, she’s sitting on the shoulders of her father’s friend Stephen Jackson. “Daddy changed the world,” the girl says while watching the people gathered in protest over her father’s death.
In an emotional video that was posted that same month on Instagram, the young girl shared memories of her father with her followers. “When I was a little baby, dad would do everything for me. Like change my diaper and feed me all the time and put me to bed,” Gianna said in her video. “When it was time for my birthday to happen, when I was a baby and it was time for my birthday, he would take me to Chuck E. Cheese and he would let me play all the games. He was strong and good to me and he was fun. He’s always going to be fun.”
Since then, Floyd’s daughter has been on the receiving end of a full scholarship to Texas Southern University. “We know that this gesture cannot take the place of her dad’s loving presence, but we hope that it will contribute to easing her journey through life,” TSU Board of Regents Chair Albert H. Myres said in a June statement.
Additionally, a GoFundMe set up for the girl’s future has reached almost $2.5 million. While none of that can make up for the loss of her father, we hope that watching his killer be held accountable will help the young girl find peace.