George Floyd’s aunt to write a memoir about her nephew

The memoir delves into Floyd's life, as well as the life of his family

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George Floyd’s family is making sure the world knows he is more than the viral video that made him and his death famous.

In addition to the family’s continued fight for justice, PEOPLE reported Floyd’s aunt, Angela Harrelson, is penning a memoir about his life. The book,  Lift Your Voice: How My Nephew George Floyd’s Murder Changed The World will be available for purchase in February 2022 through Post Hill Press.

The goal of the book is to show that Floyd was a “good man,” per Harrelson. Affectionately known as “Perry” to loved ones, they say he had a heart of gold.

“Perry would give his last dime to anyone that needed help,” Harrelson told PEOPLE. “He cared for his friends. He would walk coworkers out to their cars.”

Floyd worked as a security guard and doted on his children, but his life wasn’t without hardship. He served time in prison, something Harrelson said he regretted and he also struggled with substance abuse but leaned on his faith to stay sober. His main motivation was his family.

“He wanted to make his mother and his children proud of him,” Harrelson explained.

Their relationship had its ups and downs but she said once Floyd moved to Minnesota in search of a better life, their bond began to “blossom.”

“His whole goal for Minnesota was a new life,” she said.

The book explores Floyd’s life, as well as Harrelson’s own story and their family.  Harrelson and Floyd’s mother, Cissy, are two of 13 children who were raised by their sharecropper parents in South Carolina. Unfortunately, she said the family is used to battling racism, which she and many others believe led to Floyd’s tragic death. 

“I feel like Brown and Black people are born to be activists because each day you’re fighting to be twice as good,” she said, “You’re fighting, especially Brown and Black men, to stay alive.”

Floyd, 46, was in police custody in Minneapolis after being accused of spending a counterfeit $20 bill. He died facedown on the ground with his hands cuffed behind him while officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, kneeled on his neck. In June 2021, Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for Floyd’s murder.

In spite of the way he died, Harrelson is proud that Floyd had a fighting spirit, which she says was ever-present from watching the video of his last moments.

“When I watch that video, I know he was hanging on to that faith,” she said. “It probably was a mustard seed of faith, but I know he was hanging on to it — knowing that the worst has happened to him — because he fought,” Harrelson continued. 

His death and cry for help pushed the Black Lives Matter Movement forward. 

“He fought for those nine minutes and 29 seconds and he wanted the world to hear his voice,” she said. “God allowed him to say those words to say to the world, ‘I did cry out for help. All I wanted was someone to recognize that I was a human being.'”

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