‘It’s now time for Black Lives Matter’: Dr. Bernice King speaks at funeral of Rayshard Brooks
ATLANTA - Dr. Bernice King delivered a powerful eulogy Tuesday at the funeral of Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old black man who was shot and killed by a now-former Atlanta police officer outside of a Wendy's in southeast Atlanta.
The daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King spoke directly to Brooks’ family at the service, saying “this did not have to happen to Rayshard" before noting that "it’s now time for Black Lives Matter."
“There are so many ways that Friday, June 12 could have ended, and a police killing did not have to be one of them,” King said. “And yet here we are again.”
King said that June 12, the date which Brooks was killed, is notable, as it was the same day NAACP leader Medgar Evers was assassinated in 1963, as well as the same day in 1964 when Nelson Mandela received a life sentence in South Africa.
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“Therefore I, along with this nation, mourn with you, the Brooks family, today as our family,” King said, before talking about how her father reminded her how we are tied in a inescapable network of “mutuality.”
“What affects one directly, affects all indirectly,” King noted. “The tragic moments remind us that we are one because it impacts all of us and pulls on our heartstrings.”
“Although I did not have a chance to meet Rayshard, I am here to stand with you in what feels like an all-too-familiar moment,” King said in her nearly 10-minute-long speech.
“We are here because individuals continue to hide behind badges and trainings and policies and procedures rather than regarding the humanity of others in general and Black lives specifically,” the Rev. Bernice King, the civil rights leader's daughter, said at the private service at Ebenezer Baptist Church.
She noted ruefully that the killing took place in Atlanta, the “Black mecca" and “the city that is supposed to be `too busy to hate.'"
But in a powerful echo of her father's “I Have a Dream” speech, she declared: “Rayshard Brooks’ death will not be in vain because justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."
"Where do we go from here, as a nation, as a city and as a world?" King asked before stating how "we have arrived at a point for a necessary shift which demands a revolution of values ... to a person-centered society where Black Lives Matter."
"Since all men and all women are created equal, then Black Lives Matter," King would state.
"A revolution of values means that we invest in racial equity to ensure equality with regard to the matter of Black lives," King continued. "A revolution of values means that nonviolence must be more than a tactic, but a way of life for all."
King would then warn that if we "miss this moment," we would return "again and again to a pathway of chaos."
"We must not stop until white supremisist policy and practices are no longer the order of today, we will not stop until voter suppression is a thing of the past, we will not stop until reperations sets us on a path to be free at last," King said.
King would then speak on the actions of political leaders, including Democrats and Republicans, to be united in a call for healing and "just and equitable policies that overcome the racial disparities."
"Don't you stop until Black lives matter in every state, in every city, in every hamlet, in every village, in every sector of American society and ultimately the world," King said to a round of applause.
"I close, in honor of Ahmaud Arbery, in honor of Breonna Taylor, in honor of George Floyd, in honor of Rayshard Brooks and countless others, don't stop until it matters that dignity, justice and equity are a reality for all Black lives," King would conclude.
Brooks is among the Black individuals who were killed during encounters with police who are being mourned across the country and around the world.
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On May 25, George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. That event sparked a wave of protests against racism and police brutality around the world.
Notable civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, spoke at memorials for Floyd in recent weeks.
Amid the protests, multiple state and local governments have discussed or enacted changes to their policing and criminal justice procedures.
Multiple brands and organizations have also indicated their support for and solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.