Katherine Heigl Expresses Rage and Heartache Over How to Explain George Floyd’s Death to Daughter

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Katherine Heigl
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Katherine Heigl is opening up about the sleepless nights, tears and “flames of rage” she is experiencing as she ponders how to explain George Floyd’s death to her children. As crowds around the globe took to the streets to protest racial injustice in the wake of the 46-year-old Minneapolis man’s death (after a cop used his knee to hold him down by the neck for more than seven minutes) the 41-year-old actress shared a lengthy post on Instagram, explaining her heartache and condemning racial hate.

“I can’t sleep. And when I do I wake with a single thought in my head. How will I tell Adalaide? How will I explain the unexplainable? How can I protect her? How can I break a piece of her beautiful divine spirit to do so? I can’t sleep,” Heigl wrote, referring to the 8-year-old daughter she and musician husband, Josh Kelley, adopted in 2012. “I lay in my bed in the dark and weep for every mother of a beautiful divine black child who has to extinguish a piece of their beloved baby’s spirit to try to keep them alive in a country that has too many sleeping soundly.”

“Eyes squeezed shut. Images and cries and pleas and pain banished from their minds,” she continued. “White bubbles strong and intact. But I lay awake. Finally. Painfully. My white bubble though always with me now begins to bleed. Because I have a black daughter. Because I have a Korean daughter. Because I have a Korean sister and nephews and niece. It has taken me far too long to truly internalize the reality of the abhorrent, evil despicable truth of racism. My whiteness kept it from me.”

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Page 1. I’ve debated posting this. I don’t typically use my platform or social media to say much when it comes to the state of our country. I keep most of those thoughts to myself. I act quietly and behind the scenes. I let those with far more experience, education and eloquence be the voices for change. But I can’t sleep. And when I do I wake with a single thought in my head. How will I tell Adalaide? How will I explain the unexplainable? How can I protect her? How can I break a piece of her beautiful divine spirit to do so? I can’t sleep. I lay in my bed in the dark and weep for every mother of a beautiful divine black child who has to extinguish a piece of their beloved baby’s spirit to try to keep them alive in a country that has too many sleeping soundly. Eyes squeezed shut. Images and cries and pleas and pain banished from their minds. White bubbles strong and intact. But I lay awake. Finally. Painfully. My white bubble though always with me now begins to bleed. Because I have a black daughter. Because I have a Korean daughter. Because I have a Korean sister and nephews and niece. It has taken me far too long to truly internalize the reality of the abhorrent, evil despicable truth of racism. My whiteness kept it from me. My upbringing of inclusivity, love and compassion seemed normal. I thought the majority felt like I did. I couldn’t imagine a brain that saw the color of someone’s skin as anything but that. Just a color. I was naive. I was childish. I was blind to those who treated my own sister differently because of the shape of her beautiful almond eyes. Or her thick gorgeous hair. Or her golden skin. I was a child. For too long. And now I weep. Because what should have changed by now, by then, forever ago still is. Hopelessness is seeping in. Fear that there is nothing I can do, like a slow moving poison, is spreading through me. Then I look at my daughters. My sister. My nephews and niece. George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. The hundreds, thousands millions more we haven’t even heard about. I look and the fear turns to something else. The sorrow warms and then bursts into flames of rage.

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The Suits actress explained that thanks to her upbringing making “inclusivity” the norm, she couldn’t fathom “a brain that saw the color of someone’s skin as anything but that." She said that she had been naïve with her perspective, as well as “blind” to anyone who treated her sister differently in the past.

While Heigl admitted feeling helpless over recent events, her children and family had ignited “rage” within her. “I look at my daughters. My sister. My nephews and niece. George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor,” she wrote. “The hundreds, thousands millions more we haven’t even heard about. I look and the fear turns to something else. The sorrow warms and then bursts into flames of rage.”

Heigl condemned the “evil” actions of the officers who were present at Floyd’s arrest and subsequent death, adding that she hoped they would face harsh consequences, which would "scare the sh*t out of every other racist still clinging to their small, stupid minded hate.” While she previously may have attempted to “change the mind” of a racist, she now simply wants people to pay for their actions.

“I don’t care anymore. For their hearts or minds or souls,” she said. “I don’t care if they die with their ugliness stamped all over them. They can take this sh*t to their maker and he can deal with them. What I want is for them all to be so scared by Officer Chauvin’s consequences that they are afraid to breathe in the direction of a black man, woman or child. Let alone try to hurt them. I want them to shake in their beds at night for fear that they too could end up like Chauvin. I want him to be an example of what happens to a racist in this country.”

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Page 2. Rage. I’m not sure what most think justice looks like but right now, to me, it looks like a hard, ugly life in prison for Officer Chauvin and the others who just stood there. On their phone. I want them to pay. I want that payment to be harsh. I want it to be a painful, irrevocable consequence for their evil acts and behaviors and for those consequences to scare the shit out of every other racist still clinging to their small, stupid minded hate. The hate that soothes their weakness and cowardice. The hate that makes them feel powerful and in charge. The hate that distracts them from their meager-ness. There may have been a time when I cared to try to change the mind of a racist. To show them through example and just the right words they are wrong. I don’t care anymore. For their hearts or minds or souls. I don’t care if they die with their ugliness stamped all over them. They can take this shit to their maker and he can deal with them. What I want is for them all to be so scared by Officer Chauvin’s consequences that they are afraid to breathe in the direction of a black man, woman or child. Let alone try to hurt them. I want them to shake in their beds at night for fear that they too could end up like Chauvin. I want him to be an example of what happens to a racist in this country. I am aware that this rage is not very Christian of me. Or is it? Jesus got pretty damn mad at the temple. God brought the floods, the famine, the locust and the pillars of salt. Perhaps rage is part of the divine. Perhaps the heavens want our rage right now. Perhaps our rage is theirs. All I know is that I want it to end. Today. Forever. Whatever it takes.

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As well as being a mom to Adalaide, Heigl and Kelley also have an 11-year-old daughter, Naleigh, whom they adopted from South Korea in 2009, and a 3-year-old son, Joshua.

See more on Floyd's death below.

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