The congressman who represents Michael Brown’s district said at his funeral service this morning that lawmakers and activists should now focus as a whole on how law enforcement treats young black men.
Congressional attendees at the service, held at Friendly Temple M.B. Church in St. Louis, included Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Steve Horsford (D-Nev.), Al Green (D-Texas), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.).
Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) was bumped off the speaking schedule because the service ran over on time, but his office released the remarks he intended to deliver.
He vowed that the members would stand by the Brown family “regardless of how long and difficult the road to justice may be.”
Clay quoted the book of Isaiah: “I will give you hidden treasures / Riches stored in dark places / So that you may know that I am the Lord.”
“We all favor the sunshine over the darkness, make no mistake about that,” Clay said. “But Michael Brown’s family and the good people of Ferguson — indeed, millions of good people across this great nation — have been in the throes of a dreadful darkness.”
“Michael Brown’s untimely and completely unnecessary death has unleashed a deluge of darkness that at times seems to envelop everything. Dr. King told us ‘darkness cannot drive out darkness, only the light can do that. And hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.’ Perhaps the lesson from Isaiah means that even in the midst of our tears, there is a blessing to be revealed, even in the depths of our despair, God has promised to give us treasure from these tragic days.”
The congressman said the “treasure” might be “a great light of truth that Michael left for us to follow.”
“And if we truly want to honor his memory, we need to shine that light towards how local law enforcement deals with young black men and make meaningful changes that end sad, painful events like today,” Clay said. “And we need to shine that light towards the uneven scales of justice and inequality in this country.”
Clay stressed that Brown was his constituent, “bright, talented, full of hope, 18 years old, and ready to start college.”
“He was also male and black and, sadly, that made him a target,” he continued. “So I pray that his senseless killing will be elevated out of the darkness and into the light to finally become an urgent national priority.”