Thousands attended Michael Brown’s funeral at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis today, weeks after he was gunned down by Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson. Brown’s step-mother, Cal Brown, who called him “Mike-Mike,” told the crowd, “He just wanted so much. He wanted to go to college. To be a good father.”
The service—religious, with moments of liveliness and cheering and music—was attended by the families of other black men slain at a young age: Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, and Jordan Davis.
Also in attendance were a number of White House staff, members of Congress, and Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Shaprton, who implored the crowd, “Let us not lose sight of the fact that this young man should be doing his second week in college.”
“This is not about you,” Sharpton went on to say, addressing the aggressive police response to protests that have erupted in Ferguson following Brown’s killing Aug. 9. “This is about justice. This is about sadness. And America is gonna have to come to terms with—there’s something wrong, that we have money to give military equipment to police forces, but we don’t have money for training and money for public education and money to train our children.”
Earlier in the service, Brown’s cousin, Eric Davis, after introducing the families of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, told the church, “This generation is saying we have had enough of this senseless killing. We have had enough of this.”