Bernice A. King Gives Moving Speech at Funeral for Rayshard Brooks in the Atlanta Church Where Her Father Preached

Illustration for article titled Bernice A. King Gives Moving Speech at Funeral for Rayshard Brooks in the Atlanta Church Where Her Father Preached
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“I am here to stand with you in what feels like an all-too-familiar moment. Having a father killed when I was only 5 years of age, my heart deeply grieves for [his daughters] Dream, Memory, Blessing and [stepson] Mekai,” Bernice A. King said at the funeral for Rayshard Brooks.


On Tuesday, the service for Brooks was held at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where King’s father, Martin Luther King Jr., once served as co-pastor, according to ABC News. The service was attended by Brooks’ friends and family as well as Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Legendary civil rights icon, Georgia Rep. John Lewis, also sent a letter to the family. Most everyone in attendance could be seen wearing a mask and gospel singer Tamela Mann gave a virtual performance along with the church choir in an effort to social distance.

“Rayshard Brooks’ life matters. And he should’ve been able to live to enjoy his family and watch his kids grow up into adulthood,” King said, which drew applause from mourners, ABC notes.

Brooks was remembered as a kind, fun-loving man who did his best to bring joy to the lives of the people around him. “He never had a bad day. He radiated such a bright light that regardless of the cowardly act that took his life, his light will never be dimmed.” Ambrea Mikolajczyk, one of Brooks’ friends and former co-workers, said, ABC News notes. She recounted a time when Brooks was biking home and saw a co-worker whose car had broken down. He hopped off his bike and walked with him for two hours so he wouldn’t be alone.

On June 12, Brooks pulled into a Wendy’s drive-thru and fell asleep in his car. Two Atlanta police officers arrived at the scene and pulled him over on suspicion of driving under the influence. Brooks was mostly compliant during the stop before wrestling with the officers and then running away as they attempted to arrest him. One of the officers. Garrett Rolfe, shot Brooks two times in the back, killing him. Rolfe was fired by the Atlanta Police Department. On June 17, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard charged Rolfe with felony murder among 10 other counts. Officer Devin Brosnan, the other officer involved, was placed on administrative leave and charged with aggravated assault.

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