Today is another somber day for the family of Michael Brown. On this day, he was laid to rest. CNN reported that there were over 4,500 people in attendance of his funeral. It’s seems that people can gather to pay their respects, but if we can find a way to gather beforehand, perhaps we can make a true difference in the lives of those in our communities.
According to USA Today, although Brown’s body was being laid to rest, the controversy surrounding the Aug. 9 shooting was far from over. Prosecutors have not determined whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, 28, will face charges in Brown’s death. The service began with energy, including songs from a church choir and Scripture readings. The line from Scripture: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” drew loud applause.
Several family members shared stories of Brown, telling how the 18-year-old had promised to make something of himself. Brown “stated to the family that one day the world would know his name. He did not know he was offering up a divine prophecy,” Brown’s cousin, Eric Davis, told the crowd. “But we are here today remembering the name of Michael Brown.”
Davis encouraged people to express their anger at the polls.”Every time change has come, it’s come through the youth and the young generation,” Davis said. “This generation is saying we have had enough of this senseless killing. We have had enough of this.” Michael Brown’s stepmother, Cal Brown, shared similar memories. “Mike-Mike,” as he was called, had promised to “shake the world.”
She said he had been dreaming of death and bloody sheets just days before he died. “He pretty much prophesied his own death and didn’t realize it,” she said. “Mike-Mike is an awesome man. He just wanted to go to college. He wanted to have a family … but God had different plans.”
Michael Brown Sr., listened intently as his 1-year-old daughter, Mi-Kelle Brown, slept in his arms. Michael Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, stared straight ahead, sometimes bobbing her head in agreement with the speakers. Brown Sr. had urged supporters not to protest Monday out of respect for his son. Sharpton also discouraged violent protest, saying anyone involved in such activity must do so in their own name, not Michael Brown’s name.
The request was a hard sell outside the church, where members of the New Black Panther Party and Panthers for Justice started brief “Black Power” chants, fists punching the air. Bila Mohammad, of Panthers for Justice, said he wished Michael Brown’s family hadn’t discouraged protests. “This is the day,” he said. “The community needs to come together, in a non-violent way.” He added: “There will be more protests … In the words of Malcolm X, ‘When you tell your people to put their guns down, we’ll put ours down, too.'”
Earlier, mourners began lining up under a blistering sun more than three hours before the funeral. When the church reached its 2,500-person capacity, police directed visitors to an adjacent auditorium that seats 1,000 people and was set up with giant screens. Soon that room also was overflowing with mourners. A 300-seat annex also filled quickly.
A few hundred visitors unable to get into the service milled around outside cordially. One woman passed out small green and purple ribbons that people pinned to their shirts. But anger simmered under the surface. Quincy Harts, 40, of St. Louis, was outside the church wearing a T-shirt with Brown’s picture and the words: “No Justice, No Peace.”
He said he’ll respect the family’s wishes of no protests — for now. “Ain’t nobody too happy about this,” Harts said. “You’re going to see more protests until (Wilson) goes to jail.” Still, the atmosphere outside the church was subdued. Johnnie Shegog, 57, of St. Louis, knew Brown since he was 4 years old and the family for two decades. “I’m hoping this day lifts us up, turns things around,” she said. “Not just for St. Louis, but the entire nation.”
Angela Jones-Peaks, 43, of nearby Jennings, asked her supervisor for a few hours off Monday morning to attend the service. Having two sons of her own motivated her to attend, she said. “It’s scary every time they leave home,” Jones-Peaks said. “I wanted to support this family, let them know we’re here for them.”