The Movement that Created the Turning Point for Black Lives Matter
Angela Harrelson watched her nephew, George Floyd, hold on for 8:46 seconds. During his losing battle, he preached his own funeral. In this talk, Angela expresses why she must not only be a voice for George, but for all people who are treated unequally because of their race.
“We must not let his death be his last word.”
George Floyd’s aunt Angela Harrelson grew up in a shack surrounded by tobacco fields in eastern North Carolina, and was taught by her sharecropper parents how to get along in a country that made black people sit in the back of the bus. She worked the tobacco fields during high school to pay for school clothes, became head cheerleader, and won the title of Ms. Congeniality in a local beauty pageant. The win put a proud smile on my mother’s face that she shared with one of one of the white farmer’s wives. Sadly, the wife of the farmer didn’t believe it was the same black girl that worked in their tobacco fields. Angela overheard her tell her mom, “That is no way your daughter.” Angela’s mom told her, “It doesn’t matter. When you got the proof with the truth, that’s all you need.”
After graduation, Angela attended community college in Iowa where she hoped to become a lawyer. She later changed her mind about pursuing a legal career when a law counselor said that he did not teach black people. Intimated by his position of authority and white influence, she decided to pursue nursing instead. Angela graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and served in the Army National Guard, Navy Reserves and Air Force Reserve/Guard for 15 years, which helped to pay for her education. She later ended her military career as Air Force Captain and has been working for nearly 30 years as a R.N.
Angela made a promise to George Floyd’s mother, Sissy, that she would be there for him and would continue to encourage him to stay focused on his plans. George Floyd is the name the world knows him by, but the family knew him by his middle name, Perry. Perry moved to Minneapolis three years ago to build a new life and Angela looked forward to having him in Minnesota. Before her nephew’s death, she felt that people didn’t want to talk about racism. But now, she’s encouraged because there is a conversation about it across the world. Angela is speaking around the country, keeping the kind-hearted spirit of her gentle, beloved nephew alive, and doing her part to continue in the fight against racism and oppression. Minnesota has been her home since 1998, and when George derided to make his home there, it felt special. He is missed dearly by his friends & family, who will continue to be a voice for him.