cover image Lift Your Voice: How My Nephew George Floyd’s Murder Changed The World

Lift Your Voice: How My Nephew George Floyd’s Murder Changed The World

Angela Harrelson with Michael Levin. Post Hill, $27 (224p) ISBN 978-1-63758-337-1

In this unfortunately thin account, George Floyd’s maternal aunt voices her hurt and outrage at Derek Chauvin’s murder of her nephew in 2020. Harrelson, who was born in 1962, recounts how, like her nephew, she experienced her fair share of endemic racism growing up in Goldsboro, N.C. Despite the adversity she faced, she earned several degrees and became a nurse specializing in chemical dependency. Harrelson details the deep attachment she felt to her nephew, who the family called Perry, and who “was in his 40s, and... wasn’t getting anywhere” when his mother—her sister, Larcenia Jones Floyd—died. After his mother’s death in 2018, Floyd and Harrelson fell out of touch. “The next time I saw Perry,” she recalls, “was when he was on that hot sidewalk with that officer’s knee on his neck, and he couldn’t breathe.” Horrified at his murder, she vowed to make his killing consequential by speaking out, including by providing a victim impact statement following Chauvin’s homicide conviction. “The day the verdict... came in, I stood at [Perry’s] memorial and felt peace.” Despite her passion and sincerity, though, Harrelson’s story is often repetitive and shares little new details about Floyd’s actual life. Even sympathetic readers will find this disappointing. (Feb.)