I would first like to introduce some of my distinguished colleagues who have traveled here today to honor Michael’s memory:
From Brooklyn, New York, Congresswoman Yvette Clark;
From Georgia…Congressman Hank Johnson;
From Nevada…Congressman Steve Horsford;
From Houston, Texas…Congressman Al Green;
And from Los Angeles, California…by way of Vashon High School…
Please welcome home, Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
And finally, from Kansas City, the former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Emanuel cleaver.
First, let me extend my heartfelt sympathies to the Brown family.
Leslie and Michael,
We want you to know, that you are not standing alone,
And we will continue to stand with you, regardless of how long and difficult the road to justice may be.
At moments like this,
We often turn to scripture for guidance and inspiration.
My colleague, Reverend Emanuel Cleaver suggested the following passage from the book of Isaiah…chapter 45, verse 3…
I will give you hidden treasures;
Riches stored in dark places;
So that you may know that I am the lord”
Of course very few of us prefer the darkness.
We all favor the sunshine over the darkness, make no mistake about that.
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 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.
And we need to shine that light towards the uneven scales of justice and inequality in this country.
Leslie and Michael…
Your tears are our tears,
Your pain is our pain,
And your loss is being felt around the world.
Mike Brown was my constituent,
He was 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.
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.
May God continue to bless the Brown family with faith, strength, comfort, and courage…as you bear this terrible burden.
And May God bless you all.”