Tiny, almost elfin, her delivery blunted by the loss of a lung, Giovanni brought the crowd at the memorial service to its feet and whipped the mourners into an almost evangelical fervor with the words: “We are the Hokies. We will prevail, we will prevail. We are Virginia Tech.”
Nearly two years earlier, Giovanni had stood up to Cho Seung-Hui nearly two years before he drenched the campus in blood. Her comments Tuesday showed that the man who had killed 32 students and teachers had not killed the school’s spirit.
“We are strong and brave and innocent and unafraid,” the 63-year-old poet with the close-cropped, platinum hair told the grieving crowd. “We are better than we think, not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imagination and the possibility we will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears, through all this sadness.”