On Tuesday (June 23), Dr. Bernice King, daughter of the late Martin Luther King Jr., gave a powerful and emotional speech during the funeral of Rayshard Brooks.
“We really should not be here today,” she said. “This did not have to happen to Rayshard. There’s so many ways that Friday, June 12 could have ended and a police killing did not have to be one of them. And yet, here we are again.”
She continued, “These tragic moments remind us that we are one because it impacts all of us and pulls on our heart strings. And 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. Having a father killed when I was only five years of age, my heart deeply grieves for Dream, Memory, Blessing and Mekai. I know the pain of growing up without a father and the ongoing attention around his tragic loss. I am and will continue to pray for each of you.”
“So, where do we go from here?” Dr. King asked. “Where do we go from here as a nation, as a city and as a world? We’re faced with the question of, ‘Will it be more chaos or community?’ If we’re going to travel that road of building the beloved community that my father talked about, then we have arrived at a point for a necessary shift which demands a revolution of values. A revolution of values requires that we move from a thing-oriented society to a person-centered society where Black lives matter. A revolution of values requires that we finally accept the founding document of our nation that ‘all men and all women are created equal’ and since ‘all men and all women are created equal,’ then BLACK LIVES MATTER.”
Brooks was shot and killed on June 12 after law enforcement responded to a 911 call stating that he fell asleep in his car at a Wendy’s drive-thru. He reportedly failed a sobriety test and officers tried to take him into custody. He resisted and reportedly stole one of their tasers.
Since the deadly shooting, former officer Garrett Rolfe has been charged with a total of 11 charges including felony murder and multiple counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The other cop on the scene, Devin Brosnan, has been charged with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of violating his oath.
Watch Dr. King’s full speech below.