Speaking at the funeral of a black man killed by police in Atlanta, Bernice King on Tuesday called on the Americans to continue the fight for racial justice.
“Don’t stop”: Martin Luther King’s daughter on Tuesday pleaded with Americans to continue protests for racial justice at the funeral of Rayshard Brooks, a young black man shot dead by a white police officer in Atlanta.
“I know the pain of growing up without a father,” said Bernice King at the Ebenezer Baptist church in this large southern city, where his father, the leader of the civil rights movement, preached from 1960 until his assassination in 1968.
“Tragically, we are still there,” she regretted to the family of Rayshard Brooks, whose death, June 12, rekindled anti-racist anger after that of George Floyd, a black forties asphyxiated by a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25.
“Recognize the humanity of others”
“We are there because individuals continue to hide behind their badges, training, policies and procedures, rather than recognizing the humanity of others, including black lives,” said Bernice King. “No justice, no peace,” she chanted with a raised fist, taking up a slogan hammered across the country in the past month.
For her, America is at a “turning point”. “If we miss the opportunity, we will find ourselves again on this path that leads to chaos and self-destruction,” she warned, calling for continued mobilization.
“We cannot stop our protests until our voices are heard and our demands for police reform are met,” she said, before concluding by paraphrasing her father: “The death of Rayshard Brooks will not have been vain because justice will spring up like an inexhaustible torrent ”.
Call to go to the polls
The day before, hundreds of people had paraded in this iconic church for the black community, to pay a last tribute to the young father who was shot twice in the back while trying to escape an arrest for drunkenness on public roads. The shooter, Garrett Rolfe, 27, was arrested and charged with “murder” and his co-worker, Devin Brosnan, at the time of the incident, was released on bail and charged with “assault”.
At the funeral, funded by actor Tyler Perry and punctuated by gospel songs, Pastor Raphael Warnock, Democratic candidate for senator in the November 3 elections, called on African-Americans to demonstrate but also to surrender massively at the polls. “If you really want to create fear in the hearts of your opponents, vote like you have never done before,” he argued.