Aunt and cousin of George Floyd to commemorate MLK Jr. at ULS

Angela Harrelson and Paris Stevens, co-founders of the George Floyd Global Memorial, will speak at Wednesday’s University Lecture Series. WIKIMEDIA

Angela Harrelson and Paris Stevens, the aunt and cousin of George Floyd, will discuss Martin Luther King Jr.’s contributions to the civil rights movement and the work left to be done at the University Lecture Series (ULS) on Wednesday. 

The event, which marks the first of the spring semester, will take place from 8-9 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom. Although it is not required, students can register for the free event through BullsConnect. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m.

The lecture will consist of a 45-minute moderated Q&A followed by a 15-minute audience Q&A. Stevens and Harrelson are being paid $15,000 by the Center of Student Involvement (CSI), according to CSI graduate assistant for programs Hannah Sutherland. 

Sutherland said 19 students have registered for the event as of Tuesday.

In her book “Lift Your Voice: How My Nephew George Floyd’s Murder Changed The World,” Harrelson discusses Floyd’s life and how solutions to racism can be found through his death, according to the book overview. She is also a registered nurse working in Minneapolis. 

“People worry that the activism spurred by Perry’s killing will fade away, and his death will become just another story. I don’t think that will happen,” Harrelson wrote in her book

“My nephew’s death made an incredible, huge impact on the world; I think, in the long chain of incidents where white police killed Black folks, his death was the turning point.”

Prior to Floyd’s death, Harrelson said people did not want to discuss racism even in progressive cities, according to the Minneapolis Foundation. Now, she said she hopes to encourage conversations surrounding race and push for progressive action to be taken.

Both Stevens and Harrelson founded the George Floyd Global Memorial in order to preserve creative expressions such as murals, paintings and protest signs left as offerings where Floyd died, according to their website. The organization hopes to ensure that the stories of the community are told and used as educational resources in the future.

“Our goal must be to go forward and bring about change so that our children and their children can have a better life, and we can’t do that with hate,” Harrelson wrote. 

“We keep the fight for equality going, fueled with forgiveness and love, because what we’re fighting for is about love and acceptance.”