Dr. Bernice King, Martin Luther King Junior’s daughter gave a powerful speech at the Rayshard Brooks’ funeral on Tuesday.
The 57-Year old woman said, “To the family of Rayshard Brooks, especially his wife Tomika Miller and their three daughters and son, and to all of you, my brothers and sisters—we really should not be here today. 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.”
Rayshard Brooks was shot three times by two Atlanta police officers, Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan, on June 12 at a Wendy’s parking lot.
Martin Luther King Jr’s daughter continued, “These tragic moments remind us that we are one because it impacts all of us and pulls on our heart strings,” Dr. King continued during her speech. “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 [Brooks’ children] Dream, Memory, Blessing and Mekai.”
During her speech, Bernice stated that she’s aware of the “pain of growing up without a father and the ongoing attention around his tragic loss.”
She continued, “I am and will continue to pray for each of you,” she added. “Rayshard Brooks’ life matters and he should have been able to live to enjoy his family and watch his kids grow into adulthood and the officers should have gone that night without blood on their hands. This is the great tragedy in our nation that must cease.”
Recall that the killing of Brooks came barely weeks after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota by police officers.
“Justice and equity continue to elude an entire race of people,” she continued. “Increasingly too many have moved away from being in touch with empathy and compassion as it pertains to Black lives. Instead there are those who are motivated by power and fear and hate and selfishness and greed and arrogance and racism and prejudice and pride. Unfortunately, this leads to people making decisions that are damning and damaging and destructive to human lives. 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 daughter of the late Civil Right Activist, Martin Luther King Jr stated, “troubling is that it hit our home base,” while expressing that Atlanta, Georgia is not immune to the problem of systemic and structural racism.
“This happened in Atlanta, the city that’s supposed to be too busy to hate,” Dr. Bernice said. “The city that is the home to civil and human rights. This happened in the city that has been known as the Black Mecca. This happened in the city whose grounds are known for America and the world’s warrior for peace, my daddy Martin Luther King, Jr., who taught us that true peace is not merely the absence of tension but it is the presence of justice. Therefore, there can be no peace in Atlanta, nor anywhere in our nation, where there is no justice. No justice. No peace.”
“So, where do we go from here? 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?'”