tv Vice President Harris Rev. Al Sharpton Speak at Tyre Nichols Funeral CSPAN February 2, 2023 4:36am-5:13am EST
let me say that we are blessed to have a young pastor who has labored in social justice and prophetic vision. and who immediately said to let us celebrate tyre here at this great church. people like jason turner are not born in the ministry every day. a lot of ministers show up when the cameras show up. and leave when the cameras leave. but he's been with us for many years and he's a great, giant in his own right. give a hand to reverend jason turner. let me also say that i want to
recognize there are other families that have come from around the country, that know what mr. and mrs. wells is going through and all the siblings and i want them to stand and be recognized because they know what it is to sit at a funeral like this. and i know the family of george floyd is here. stand up. brandon, the family, bothan jeans' sister is here. kiki is here, botham jeans' sister. and the mother from new york is
here. the mother of breonna taylor, tamika palmer, is here. and there may be others that i did not have the note for. i want the family to know that they've come to be with you on this day, from all over the country. and we thank from the white house, the president talked to the family, but sent a delegation letd by the former mayor of atlanta who now is running policy and social engagement in the white house, mayor kesha lance bottoms. the head of infrastructure, the infrastructure czar of the country, former mayor of new orleans, stand up, mitch
landrieu is here. the fighting congresswoman from houston, texas, fighting for reparations in the congress, sheila jackson lee is here. and my friend and brother, from tp, congressman steve cohen is here. many years ago, there was a controversy in california, and there was one that stood up for justice and i watched them grow as they fought and took a balanced and principled stand. supporting what was right even when it wasn't popular. and they grew from one office to
another, every office they ran for, they predicted you couldn't win. the political polling told them they couldn't win. and they kept beating the polls. and they told her she shouldn't be here today. but she's here. the vice president of the united states. kamala harris. i was going to be polite about it but since y'all stood up and clapped so long, wouldn't it be
nice for her to share a few words with us? come on, come on up here so they can see you. vice president harris: good afternoon, sir. reverend, i want to thank you for all you do for so many. there are so many families here who have been personally touched by your leadership and your strength and your fellowship. reverend dr. lawrence turner, thank you for welcoming us. kesha lance bottom, mitch landrieu, we are here on behalf of the people of our country and our president, joe biden. and we are here to celebrate the
life of tyre nichols. mrs. brown, mr. brown, you have been extraordinary. in terms of your strength, your courage, and your grace. and we mourn with you and the people of our country mourn with you. and i have -- i'm going to be very brief. mothers around the world, when their babies are born, pray to god, when they hold that child, that that body and that life will be safe. for the rest of his life. yet we have a mother and a
father who mourn the life of a young man who should be here today. they have a grandson who now does not have a father. his brothers and sister will lose the love of growing old with their baby brother. and when we look at this situation, this is a family that lost their son and their brother, through an act of violence, at the hands and the feet of people who have been charged with keeping them safe. [applause] and when i think about the courage and the strength of this family, i think it demands that we speak truth. and with this, i will say.
this violent act was not in pursuit of public safety. it was not in the interest of keeping the public safe. because one must ask, was not it in the interest of keeping the public safe that tyre nichols would be here with us today. [applause] was he not also entitled to the right to be safe? so when we talk about public safety, let us understand what it means in its truest form. tyre nichols should have been safe. so i will just close by saying this. i was, as a senator, as a united states senator, a co-author of the original george floyd
justice in policing act. and as vice president of the united states we demand that congress pass the george floyd justice in policing act. joe biden will sign it. and we should not delay and we will not be denied. it is nonnegotiable. and with that, i will just, pastor, if you don't mind, one of my favorite verses in scripture is luke, chapter 1, verse 79. which tells us god will help us to shine a light upon those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. , to guide our feet in the way of peace. let our memory of tyre shine a
his brothers and found them, but they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. here comes that dreamer, they said to each other. come now, let's kill him. and throw him into one of the cis terns and say a ferocious animal has devoured him. may god add a blessing to the reading of his word. early this morning, before dawn, i did what i often do when i come to memphis.
i went out to the lorain motel. as a youngster, i joined sclc operation breadbasket. i had been a boy teach -- a boy preacher in the church of god in christ. my mother was concerned when i was 12 that i was getting too involved in looking at activism and the violence of it. she took me to my bishop, bishop f.d. washington. he said, i know what to do with him. he brought me to dr. williams jones who led dr. king's organization in new york. and the year dr. king died, i was 13 years old, i became youth director of the chapel in new york. -- of the chapter in new york. it was my growing up in the king movement in the north after his
death that makes me come to the lorraine hotel. and look at the spot that dr. king died. this morning i took my youngest daughter, ashley, with me. and i told the story of how dr. king came to memphis to fight for garbage workers. city employees. that had no safety. two had been killed with a malfunction. and here we are, 55 years later. looking at the balcony where martin luther king shed his blood for city workers. for black city workers. to be able to work in the police department. work in sanitation.
and the reason why mr. and mrs. wells, what happened to tyre is so personal to me is that five black men, that wouldn't have had a job in the police department, would not ever be thought of to be in an elite squad, in the city that dr. king lost his life, not far away from that balcony, you beat a brother to death. there's nothing more insulting and offensive to those of us that fight to open doors, if you walk through those doors and act like those we had to fight for to get you through them doors.
[applause] you didn't get on the police department by yourself. the police chief didn't get there by herself. people had to march and go to jail and some lost their lives to open the doors for you and how dare you. act like that sacrifice was for nothing. you ain't in no new england state, you're in tennessee. where we had to fight for you. and you take that position? and do what we saw? and then some of y'all, got all
this mess on social media. let me tell you something. i don't know what you writing on social media, i know what i saw on the tape. and the tape speaks for itself. they never asked this man for his license. never asked for the car registration. snatched him out of the car and began beating him. nobody mentioned nothing about no girlfriend. nobody mentioned nothing about no -- they started beating an unarmed man.
in the city that they slayed the dreamer. what has happened to the dream? in the city where the dreamer lay down and shed his blood, you have the unmitigated gall to beat your brother, chase him down and beat him some more. call for backup and they take 20 minutes. and you watch him and you were too busy talking among each other, no empathy, no concern. if you read the story of joseph, when his brothers threw him in the pit, nobody came to help him, like nobody came to help tyre.
waiting on ambulance service that didn't show up until it's too late. what will happen to the dream? we'll just tell them something else happened but we are going to throw him in the pit. but i come to memphis today to tell you the same mistake joseph's brothers made, is the mistake you made. you thought you threw joseph in a pit. you thought you threw dr. king's dream in a pit. but every time you throw something in a bit, god takes the pit and raises it up and changes the whole world. let me be clear.
we understand that there are concerns about public safety. we understand that there are needs to deal with crime. but you don't fight crime by becoming criminals yourself. you don't stand up to thugs in the street becoming thugs yourself. you don't fight gangs by becoming five armed men against an unarmed man. that ain't the police. that's punks.
man said, i didn't do nothing. you kept on going anyhow. why do they go ahead? because they feel that there is no accountability. they feel that we are going to get angry a day or two and then we're going on to something else. but some of us do this every day. some of us believing the dream his to come true. some of us are going to fight until we make this legislation happen. i don't know when, i don't know how, but we won't stop until we hold you accountable and change the system.
[applause] why do we want to see the george floyd justice in policing act passed? because then you have to think twice, for you beat tyre nichols. you think twice before you shoot at someone unarmed you think twice before you chokehold eric garyn. you think twice before you put your knee on eric garner's -- on george floyd's neck. because if you don't have qualified immunity, your wife would be telling you before you leave home, behave yourself. because we could lose the house. we could lose the car. behave yourself. because our savings can be gone. you want to be a tough guy? let's get rid of qualified immunity and see if you learn
the same manners you have on the white side of town, you'll have some manners on the black side of town. but reverend al you don't understand, how it ain't going to keep crime down in the black community. and at the same time not be tough and rough. they do it the same way they do it on the white side of memphis and they keep the crime down without being rough and tough. how do you have the same department and keep crime down on one side of town, without beating folk to death, but you can't do it on the other side of town unless you feel that you can get away with it there. i can't speak for everybody in memphis. i can't speak for everybody
gathering. for me, i believe that that man had been white you wouldn't have beat him like that that night. [applause] we're not asking for nothing special. we're asking to be treated equal. and to be treated fair. and just like they marched and boycotted, and went to jail, for nine years, from the 1955 montgomery bus boycott to the 1964 civil rights act, we're going to pay the same dues to get this george floyd justice in policing act. [applause]
reverend, how long? i don't know how long. hay didn't know how long it would be when they boycotted in the 1950's. it's not about a timetable. it's that we cannot continue to live under these double standards, and under these conditions. we don't care how long but i can tell you one thing, those of you who keep voting against that bill, we are going to vote against you. we've got more numbers than the police union. i believe that god will do for us what we'll do for ourselves. and even in the pit, joseph never lost his faith.
joseph could have gave up. joseph could have gave out. but in the pit, he still believes in the gotd of his father. and even as i stand over the casket of this innocent young boy, this young man, 39 years old with a 4-year-old son that his mother and his father and siblings have to raise, i believe that god will take him, tyre, out of that pit and use him as a symbol for justice all over this country. i believe that babies unborn will know about trveg yre's -- abtyre because we won't let his memory die. we're going to change this country because we refuse to keep living under the threat of the cops and the robbers. what touched me, i was raised by
a single mother. daddy left when i was10. mama raised my sister and i on welfare and food stamps. touched me is when i heard him calling for his mother. just like george floyd. calling for his mother. some of you have to be a black man, the only thing between you and disaster was your mother, to understand what calling for your mother means. somewhere deep in my heart, i understood tyre. because only thing that kept the kids from laughing at my banana sandwiches in school, because she couldn't afford enough to put meat there, but mama would make it all right for me.
he knew if he could just get mother that they would quit beating him and quit stomping on him. all he wanted to do was get home. now home, reverend bryant, is not just a place. home is not just a physical location. home is where you are at peace. home is where you don't have to keep your dukes up. home is where you're not vulnerable. home is where everything is all right. he said all i want to do is get home. i come to memphis to say the reason i keep going is all i'm trying to do is get home. i want to get where they can't keep me with a double standard. i'm trying to get home. i want to get where they can't call me names no more.
i want to get home. i want to get where they can't shoot and ask questions later. i'm trying to get home. every black in america stands up every day trying to get home. last night, we went to mason temple, church of god in christ. and the wells family and tyre's sisters and brother stood there where martin luther king gave his last speech. they didn't know that night it was his speech for the last time. i was told by those that worked with king that raised me, and i
recounted it with mrs. king, i worked very closely with martin iii, we're going back to washington august 26, during his father's march 60th anniversary, we're going to deal with tyre and these other issues. they told me, that day, april 3, 1968, it was raining, storming. dr. king said he didn't even feel like going to the rally. he had come to memphis the week before to lead a march for the sanitation workers. and some provocateurs got at the end they have march. you know, there are still some around now. blacker than anybody else. more active than anybody else. more street than anybody else. they started a riot at the end of the march. and the press said, oh, dr. king's day is over. nonviolence is dead. so he came back to prove that he
could march. if it wasn't for so-called militants, dr. king would have never faced what he faced. that's why all these people talking bad that you and i don't know, don't have no background on, be careful of who jumps in movement. because they set serious folk up. dr. king came back and that day it was raining. he said to dr. ralph abernathy, ralph, you go speak. i don't feel like going tonight. and they went on to the church. when they got there, the church was full. in a storm. dr. abernathy went to the pay phone. and he called back to the lorraine motel. a black-owned motel. told them to put his call through to room 306.
dr. king picked up the phone, he said, martin, you need to come. there are thousands here, they didn't come to see me. dr. king got in the car by himself and rolled over to to mason temple, he started speaking that night. something came over him. he said that, i don't fear any man. he said, god has allowed me to go to the mountain top and i've seen the promised land. and that's the last speech he gave right here in memphis when he went to the mountain top. i believe when he looked over, he could see a barack obama become president. i believe when he went to the mountain top he cowl look over and see a -- he could look other and see a kamala harris sitting as vice president. i believe we when he looked over from the mountain top, he saw black police chiefs. he didn't expect you to disgrace
him. he expected you to bring us on to the promised land. that's why i'm still marching. yes, i got books out. yes, i got a tv show. but i'm a mountain climber. i'm not going to stop until i get to the top of the mountain. you can call me names on right wing television. i'm a mountain climber. i expect stumbles to come my way. i'm a mountain climber. you candice grace me, you can discredit me but i'm going to keep on climbing. i'm going to climb. until tyre nichols gets swrusties. i'm going to climb until eric garner gets justice. i'm going to climb until we change the laws. we're mountain climbers. we're not day traders. we're mountain climbers. and as god before us, it's more than the whole world against us. he walks with me. he talks with me. he tells me that i'm his own.
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