The funeral for George Floyd, the 46-year-old African American man killed in police custody on Memorial Day, was held at the Fountain of Praise Church in Houston, Texas on Tuesday, featuring hours of gospel music and tributes.
Former Vice President Joe Biden delivered a video address, accompanied by the lilting sound of an organ in the background:
Why, in this nation, do too many black Americans wake up knowing that they could lose their life in the course of just living their life? Why does justice not roll like a river, or righteousness like a mighty stream? Why? Well, ladies and gentlemen, we can’t turn away. We must not turn away. We cannot leave this moment thinking we can once again turn away from racism that stings at our very soul, from systemic abuse that still plagues American life.
In a video montage, Floyd was likened to civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as to Malcolm X, with a mural showing Floyd standing with the iconic black leaders, both of whom were murdered.
Many mourners practiced “social distancing” due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with those in attendance wearing masks — though Rev. William “Bill” Lawson, pastor emeritus, of the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church joked that attendees had “destroyed all laws of social distancing.”
Gospel music was performed throughout the nationally-televised proceedings, and several works of art were presented in memory of Floyd and in tribute to the protests that emerged in the wake of his death.
Rev. Mia Wright and Rev. Remus Wright welcomed dignitaries to the funeral, including attorney Benjamin Crump, Rev. Al Sharpton, and other political leaders, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Reps. Al Green and Sheila Jackson-Lee, both Democrats of Texas, who addressed the gathering.
“He changed not only this country, not only the United States — he changed the world! George Floyd changed the world,” Green declared.
Lee likened Floyd’s death to the crucifixion of Jesus, noting he had been killed by wicked men, but for greater good. “George Floyd was here on an assignment,” she said, adding that he had inspired worldwide calls for justice.
Other religious leaders also read from Scripture and offered prayers. Members of the family spoke movingly of their memories of Floyd, and noted approvingly the protests that had broken out across the country in outrage at this killing.
“Obviously, the first thing that we have to do is to clean out the White House,” Rev. Lawson said, to applause, adding that people should also vote for better state and local leadership.
The radical Nation of Islam provided security for the event, working with the Houston Police Department.
Rev. Lawsom expressed his hope that the ongoing protests “shall continue, so that this movement will transform this corrupt world. Praise God for George Floyd.”
Update: Sharpton later gave a fiery address, attacking — among others — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. He said that Goodell’s recent apology for the league’s recent opposition to protests during the national anthem was not enough, and that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who led the protests, should play on a team.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.