A week after George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020, Michelle Miller’s cell phone buzzed.
The CBS Saturday Morning cohost had covered other stories about violence and racial animus: the shootings of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, the mass murder in a Charleston, South Carolina, church, the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Now, with the nation aflame over Floyd’s fate, a senior producer at CBS News’ weekday morning show—where Miller sometimes served as cohost— wanted her perspective.
The resulting television segment was more personal than anyone expected.
“I exposed why stories like that really resonated with me,” says Miller, who lives with her husband and children in South Orange. The contours of her childhood—indeed, of her entire life—had been etched by racism.
She had been abandoned by her mother, whose Mexican immigrant parents disapproved of her relationship with a Black man, a prominent surgeon and civil rights activist.
In the television piece, Miller described herself as “the product of an interracial union that my father celebrated and my mother to…