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DEI Spotlight Events - February 2022

Aunt and Cousin of George Floyd Encourage ‘Walking the Walk,’ Keeping Momentum Going

Angela Harrelson

Paris StevensTo kick off the college’s Black History Month celebration, NOVA welcomed Angela Harrelson and Paris Stevens, the aunt and cousin of George Floyd, on Thursday, February 3. The important discussion took place in a hybrid format, allowing for virtual viewing as well as an in-person discussion at NOVA’s Regional Center for Workforce Education and Training on the Woodbridge Campus. NOVA thanks Micron Technologies for helping make this presentation possible and open to all NOVA faculty, staff, students and the general public.

The event was introduced to audiences by doctors Anne M. Kress, president of NOVA, and Sam Hill, provost of the Woodbridge Campus. Dr. Nathan Carter, NOVA’s chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer served as moderator.

“NOVA is committed to ensuring that all students succeed and all communities prosper. We are also committed to inclusive excellence and ensuring equity in student outcomes. Today’s discussion furthers that mission that helps us understand that many students - too many people in our community -- continue to experience racial barriers to imagining a future of inclusive excellence.”

Kress continued, “With my time here today, I also want to extend my condolences to the family for their loss. We have all learned so much through this, but it has come at a remarkable and painful price.”

Discussion centered on justice in the Black community and provided powerful remarks on the legacy of their family. Harrelson and Stevens spoke further on the George Floyd Global Memorial, which started with community members leaving offerings and gifts and has now grown to over 3,000 remembrance pieces such as portraits, drawings and signs. Ms. Stevens and Ms. Harrelson are the co-chairs of the George Floyd Global Memorial, and it has become a museum of sorts—a place of hope, healing, support and a communal place of belonging.

Angela Harrelson, Floyd’s aunt, was a military veteran who served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force, and is also a registered nurse. She spoke upon knowing Floyd as a young child. His family called him ‘Perry.’ She recalled her nephew as a youth and how he loved his family, his community and wanted to make a better life for his family.

“I draw my strength from people,” said Harrelson. “When Perry was killed, a lot of people around the world came to show me their love. Strangers showed me support. People from different languages, languages I couldn’t even speak. It was a dark place. I was angry, confused. And the people kept showing up and telling me ‘I care.’ What happened for me was their love became my nutrition to feed my strength to go on. That’s what happened.”

Stevens, also a nurse, spoke fondly of her cousin and how he made everybody feel special. She offered insights about her work with Harrelson and how young people can become involved in advocacy. She spoke of her children and how this may affect them.

“We need to keep walking the walk,” said Stevens. “This isn’t just a moment in time, this is a movement, a momentum to keep going and keep striving to get justice.”

The event was livestreamed and available to view for those unable to attend. To view a recording of this event (NOTE: this recording is only available for enrolled students and NOVA faculty and staff), visit Click Academic Resources, then SSO Login, log in, and scroll down to DEI-Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

NOVA’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is committed to advancing Inclusive Excellence and improving the well-being and success of all NOVA students, faculty, staff and the greater community. The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion works in collaboration with all aspects of the college community to elevate the acceptance of different ideas, values, beliefs, abilities and perspectives while also advancing equity as aligned with the College’s Mission and Strategic Plan and helping to create and sustain a more inclusive and accepting college community.

Submitted by Hoang-Dung Nguyen

DEI Spotlight Events are held monthly. For information about other programs by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, please visit, or contact Dr. Nathan Carter at