Barrett Shares How Video of George Floyd’s Death Affected Her Family

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a mother of two Black children, says her family watched the video of George Floyd’s death and had a difficult discussion about racism with children like many families around the country.

During the second day of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings for Barrett, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) asked her, “Have you seen the George Floyd video? What impact did it have on you?”

Durbin was referring to the almost nine-minute video that sparked protests against racism and police brutality. The video showed a white police officer pinning Floyd, a Black man, to the ground by kneeling on his neck for at least eight minutes and 15 seconds. The encounter led to Floyd’s death. 

She responded, “As you might imagine, given that I have two Black children, that was very, very personal for my family.”

“I was there and my 17-year-old daughter Vivian who’s adopted from Haiti. All of this was erupting, it was very difficult for her, we wept together in my room,” she continued.

She also said it was “difficult” for her 10-year-old daughter Julia.

She added her children have “had the benefit of growing up in a cacoon where they have not yet experienced hatred or violence.”

“And for Vivian, you know, to understand that there would be a risk to her brother or her son she might have one day, of that kind of brutality has been an ongoing conversation. It’s a difficult one for us like it is for Americans all over the country,” she said.

Watch the video below:

Durbin proceeded to ask Barrett how she feels Americans should address the issue of racism in the country. She said, “I think it is an entirely uncontroversial and obvious statement, given as we just talked about the George Floyd video, that racism persists in our country.”

“As to putting my finger on the nature of my problem, whether as you say it’s just as you outright or systemic racism, or how to tackle the issue of making it better, those things are policy questions. They’re hotly contested policy questions,” she added.

Barrett continued to say she is “happy” to discuss how the video of Floyd’s death impacted her family. But, she said it is “beyond what I’m capable of doing as a judge” to make a “broader diagnoses about the problem of racism.”