A local TV station in St. Louis (maybe several) showed the funeral of Michael Brown, Jr. live. I watched it at work from the station's live stream on the internet. It was amazing, powerful, and moving. Rev. Al Sharpton was great. I can't find a transcript, but the Guardian was live blogging, and I'll put that together below. I have to reverse the order.
Remember, out of respect for Michael Brown, Jr., and his grieving family, no demonstrations today, and when they start up again, no violence.
Sharpton begins speaking. His eulogy is titled “The World View”.Please think about what he said and say a little prayer or have a moment of silence today for Michael Brown, Jr., and his family. Thank you.
There has been a lot said in the last few days. This afternoon Lesley and Michael Sr. will have to do something that is out of order. They will have to lay their son to rest. Order says that children must bury their parents... it is out of order.Sharpton:
We should not sit here today and act like we’re watching something that is in order...
Let us not lose sight of the fact that this young man should be doing his second week in college.
Before you get into heaven, before you put on your long robes, before you walk down the streets, you’ve got to deal with the streets in Ferguson and St Louis.Now Sharpton describes the hours after Brown was shot that his body lay in the street. “We sit like we have no requirements,” he says. “Like it’s somebody else. But all of us are required to respond to this. And all of us must solve this.”
[added later, but said about here] Sharpton: "no community in America would tolerate an 18 year old boy laying in the street for 4 1/2 hours and we won't tolerate it either!"
Sharpton draws a powerful reaction from the crowd. He is talking about Brown’s parents:They had to break their mourning to ask folks to stop looting and rioting.... Can you imagine? They have to stop mourning to get you to control your anger. Like you more angry than they are. Like you don’t understand that Michael Brown does not want to be remembered for a riot. He wants to be remembered as the one who made America deal with how we going to police in the United States.What does God require of us? Sharpton asks.
This is not about you. This is about justice. This is about fairness. And America is going to have to come to terms when there’s something wrong, that we have money to give military equipment to police forces, when we don’t have money for training, and money for public education and... our children.
America. How you going to look --to see that you can’t come up with a police report, but you can find a video? How do you think we look when young people march nonviolently... and you put snipers on the roof and point guns at them - how do we look?
He tells the stories of Marlene Pinnock, who was beaten by a highway patrol officer on a Santa Monica freeway, and of Eric Garner, the New York man who died after being placed in a chokehold by police.
“America, it’s time to deal with policing. We are not the haters, we’re the healers,” Sharpton says.
“We are not going to have a fit. We got to have a movement,” he says.
Sharpton discourses on blackness in America:
Blackness was never about being a gangster or a thug. Blackness was no matter how low we was pushed down, we rose up anyhow.Blackness was never surrendering our pursuit of excellence. It was when it was against the law to go to some schools, we built black colleges... we never gave up.The crowd shouts in approval.
Now, in the 21st century, we get to where we got some positions of power. And you decide it ain’t black no more to be successful. Now you want to be a n----- and call your woman a ho. You’ve lost where you’ve come from.
We’ve got to clean up our community so we can clean up the United States of America.
Sharpton approaches a conclusion:
Michael Brown must be remembered for more than disturbances. He must be remembered for, ‘this was when they started changing what was going on.’This is one of those moments. And this young man, for whatever reason, has appealed to all of us, that we’ve got to solve this. ...He mentions gun trafficking being allowed to happen, while police crack down on cigarette sales.
If we cannot focus and do what the lord requires of us, we’ll be right back here again....
In closing, the policies of this country cannot go unchallenged. We cannot have policing of low-level crimes but can’t deal with the higher level.
There’s something crazy about that kind of policing....
Sharpton:I know how this story gonna end. The first will be last. The last will be first. The lion and lamb gonna lay down together. And God will, God will, God will make a way for his children. I been to the end of the Book. And justice is gonna come. Justice is gonna come. Justice is gonna come.
Whatever happened, the value of this boy’s life must be answered by somebody.
Update: Some video: