Sympathisers, family members and loved ones of George Floyd, who died from police brutality in America said their final goodbyes to the Minneapolis man who was born in North Carolina and raised in Houston. A funeral service was held at Fountain of Praise church before he is laid to rest at Houston Memorial Gardens in nearby Pearland, Texas.
Mourners, vowing to “find hope” and “racial justice,” paid tribute to George Floyd at a Houston church on Tuesday, capping a three-state tribute to the man whose death touched off protests across the world against racism and police brutality.
Just as the service began, Floyd’s golden casket was closed for a final time.
“This will be a home-going celebration of brother George Floyd,” Fountain of Praise pastor Mia K. Wright told mourners. “We may weep, we may mourn, but we will find hope.”
Former Vice President and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden met privately with Floyd’s family on Monday. He told mourners remotely on Tuesday that Floyd’s death will bring long-overdue justice.JUNE 9, 202005:00
Biden told mourners he’s been thinking about Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Gianna.
“I know you have a lot of questions, honey,” Biden said in a statement recorded from his home in Delaware on Tuesday.
“Too many black children have had to ask for generations, ‘Why? Why’s daddy gone?'”
U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, brought mourners to their feet as she urged them to find strength from Floyd’s passing — and to complete “his assignment,” that “there will never be brutality faced by a man that says ‘I can’t breathe’ and calls out to a mama who loves him so.”
“The world knows George Floyd. I know Perry Jr.” George Floyd’s aunt eulogizes her nephew at his funeral.
Family members said they were grateful for well-wishers honoring their brother, uncle and nephew, often called “Perry,” his middle name.
“I would like to thank the whole world,” aunt Kathleen McGee said. “But I just want to make this statement: The world knows George Floyd, I know Perry Jr.”
Floyd’s niece told mourners she’ll never forget her uncle’s last words, “I can’t breathe.”
“Hello my name is Brooke Williams, George Floyd’s niece — and I can breathe,” Williams said. “As long as I’m breathing, justice will be served for Perry.”
Music punctuated much of the emotional ceremony, which included recording artist Ne-Yo singing “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye,” an R&B classic originally by Boyz II Men.
And gospel singer Dray Tate delivered a stirring rendition of “A Change Is Gonna Come,” the famed Sam Cooke song that became an anthem of civil rights protests of the 1960s.
As Tate sang, artist Ange Hillz quickly painted a black-and-white portrait of Floyd behind him.
The Minneapolis man’s final resting place will be next to next to his mother, whom Floyd cried out for two weeks ago as a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
The four Minneapolis officers who confronted Floyd on May 25 have been arrested and charged in connection to his death.
Biden said Floyd’s death must yield justice before America can heal its centuries-old racial divide.
“Now is the time for racial justice. That’s the answer we must give our children when they ask, ‘Why?'” Biden told mourners.
“Because when there’s justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice for America.”
Just 500 people were initially allowed inside the 2,000-seat sanctuary to keep mourners safely apart during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
But as the pews began to fill before the service, it became clear that such safeguards would not be possible.
“So much for social distancing today,” a concerned Fountain of Praise pastor Remus E. Wright said on stage.
Wright admonished everyone to keep their masks on and said anyone not with a facial covering would be taken out. Congregants applauded.