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George Floyd Taken To His Final Rest -- To Be With His Mother
The services for George Floyd have ended and his gold casket has been loaded into a hearse and taken to Houston Memorial Gardens in Pearland, Tex., where he will be buried next to his mother, Larcenia "Miss Cissy" Floyd, who died in 2018 and who he called for in the final moments of his life.
He was to be carried by pallbearers from a horse drawn carriage to the gravesite where he will be laid to rest in a private ceremony.
Although only 500 people were ticketed to attend the funeral hundreds gathered around The Fountain of Praise Church to say goodbye to Floyd. Many also gathered along the procession route to watch the hearse go by and pay their respects.
Floyd family lawyer asked on social media that people join him in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck until he lost consciousness, causing his death.
"On the final day of George Floyd’s homecoming, please join me in a 'moment of silence' lasting 8 minutes 46 seconds," Crump said on Twitter. "Let’s remember George and all of our other lost Black men and women — and pray for their families in this difficult time."
Sharpton: George Floyd Was A Cornerstone
Rev. Al Sharpton said that George Floyd sparked an international call for justice not because of pedigree, status or wealth, but because he was an “ordinary brother.”
“God took a rejected stone and made him the cornerstone of a movement that will change the world”
Sharpton said that too many people show up to focus on cases like these while it’s popular and while the media is present, but disappear when attention dissipates.
"Oh it's nice that everyone wants to now study the problem but if we did what was done to Floyd to a white kid we wouldn't need no [sic] study.
Sharpton also criticized NFL commissioner Roger Goodell who issued an apology for "not listening" to the leagues players on the topic of race.
"[You're] sorry? Then repay the damage you did to the career you stood down, ’cause when Colin [Kaepernick] took a knee, he took it for for the families in this building. And we don’t want an apology. We want him repaired,” said Sharpton.
On August 28, Sharpton announced, there will be a March for Justice in Washington D.C., which will be joined by the Floyd family.
In closing, Sharpton said "go and get your rest now, go on and see your momma...we're gonna fight on."
Sharpton Begins With Call for Justice
Rev. Al Sharpton begins the eulogy by acknowledging the leaders of The Fountain of Praise Church, but also calling for justice and promising to remain steadfast in seeking prosecution of the police officers charged with George Floyd’s death.
He also recognized family attorney Benjamin Crump and praised him for aligning himself with the Floyd and other families. “We need attorneys who fight for civil rights not civil settlements.”
He also acknowledged the families of many African American who have lost members to racial profiling and police violence including those of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, Mike Brown and others.
“All of these families came to stand with this family,” he said, “because they know better than anyone else the pain they will suffer from the loss that they have gone through.”
He said that all of the families have been affected by institutionalized racism.
"We are not fighting some disconnected incidents. We are fighting an institutional systemic problem."
Several celebrities have come to attend the funeral of George Floyd. Actor and comedian Jamie Foxx, actor Channing Tatum, Houston Texans defensive back J.J. Watt, singer Al B. Sure, boxing champ Floyd Mayweather, and billionaire Robert F. Smith were among many notables who were at the services.
Rev. Al Sharpton is preparing to eulogize George Floyd. He is sitting with members of the Floyd family at The Fountain of Praise Church.
Sharpton also gave a eulogy last week in Minneapolis for memorial services there.
R&B artist Ne-Yo takes center stage in the church sanctuary to sing an acapella rendition of G.C. Cameron's “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” from Cooley High. He becomes emotional and leaves after only a single verse.
The song, covered by Boyz II Men in 1991, has become a popular theme to sing at the funerals of young Black men.
Led by Floyd family member Kathleen McGee, the family, dressed in white, acknowledges and thanks the attendees and supporters globally.
Floyd's niece, Brooke Williams, exresses defiance and calls his death a hate crime. "Someone once said, 'make America great again,' but when has America been great?" She calls for more protests for justice and remembers her uncle as playful and funny.
"Thank you, Houston. There's always love in the hometown."
His brother, Philonise, says he has stopped wearing ties because of the way Floyd died, haunted by his gasps of "I Can't Breathe."
"I want justice for my brother," he said. "That's my brother. That's Big Floyd. Everyone is gonna remember him around the world. He's gonna change the world."
Spiritual Singing and Dignitary Remarks
After another gospel selection by Houstn Gospel singer Kathy Taylor, former Vice President Joe Biden leads the dignitarial remarks in a video sent to the ceremony prior to Tuesday. He is followed by Rep. Al Green, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
"For most people the numbness you feel now will slowly turn day after day, season after season, into purpose," said Biden, who met with the Floyd family on Monday. "When there is justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on the way to racial justice in America."
Green exclaims that Floyd's "only crime" was that "he was born Black" and issues a Congressional resolution to acknowledge his life. "We have a duty responsibility and obligation to make sure this is not like all those other times," he said, referring to others who have lost their lives to police violence.
He also calls for a "department of reconciliation" to address racial animus between Blacks and whites.
White announces that he is signing an executive order that bans chokeholds by police officers. He also says officers will be required to warn a suspect before opening fire in a situation requiring use of firearms.
Celebration of life
Gospel artist Dray Tate sings a rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Gonna Come” as a video montage plays and a live artist creates a portrait of Floyd.
The song, released in 1964, is regarded as a Civil Rights anthem and was used by freedom marchers as a unifying theme.
Afterword, The Fountain of Praise’s Ivy McGregor reads resolution from groups offering condolences including Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church, Jack Yates High School’s class of 1993 and many others.
Houston native Gospel music star Pastor Kim Burrell, accompanied by the Houston Ensemble begins with musical selection “God Will Take Care of You.” They were introduced by Dr. Remus Wright and Mia K. Wright, Senior Pastor and Co-Pastor of The Fountain of Praise Church.
They will be followed by an Old Testament reading by Rev. Arthur Rucker and a New Testament reading by Pastor Emeritus Gusta Booker of Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church of Houston, and also a prayor of comfort by Rev. Dr. Mary White.
Floyd's casket has been closed and the bier sealed prior to the beginning of the presentation.
12:26 p.m. ET
Ceremony begins with family's entry
A gospel choir is welcoming guests into the funeral and the church is beginning to fill. Rev. Al Sharpton, is leading a procession of family members, dressed in white town the main aisle. Viewing of the body is continuing. At least one family member has broken down in tears upon seeing Floyd’s body.
To mitigate the spread of coronavirus, people entering the church are all wearing masks and are having their temperatures checked. Texas has seen an increase recently in the virus as reopening has moved forward.
Meanwhile, thousands are lining the streets on the route to the church although it is the hottest day of the year so far in Houston. Although they will not be able to enter the church, they say they wanted to pay respects to Floyd and his family.
Services to begin after family's arrival
The gold casket bearing the body of George Floyd has already arrived at The Fountain of Praise Church in Houston. His family is expected shortly and services are expected to begin after they arrive.
Rev. Al Sharpton has arrived at the church, dressed in ministerial robes and prepared to give the eulogy. This will be the second eulogy for Floyd he has given. The first was in Minneapolis on June 5.
What to know about George Floyd's Houston funeral.
A private funeral service is being held for George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died at the hands of police May 25, whose death has sparked worldwide demonstrations and calls for justice.
The Fountain of Praise church will host the services which are expected to be attended by several dignitaries and policitians. About 500 invited, ticketed guests will be in attendaance in the megachurch to observe social distancing measures.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Rev. Al Sharpton, Attorney Benjamin Crump, Slim Thug, Leela James, Paul Wall, Floyd Mayweather, Congressman Al Green and Bishop James Dixon are expected to attend.
Sharpton is expected to give the eulogy.
Floyd's body will be taken by horse drawn carriage after the funeral and buried in Houston Memorial Gardens in Pearland, Tex.
Details from George Floyd's Minneapolis memorial below.
3:45 p.m.ET/2:45 p.m. CT
Civil Right leader Rev. Al Sharpton stood next to eulogize the life of George Floyd.
In his speech, Sharpton began by saying Floyd should not be amongst the deceased reminding people that he died because of a broken American justice system and nothing else. He also took a moment to mention Donald Trump, without actually naming the president, to admonish his stunt earlier this week standing in front of St. John's Episcopal Church across the street from the White House while holding a Bible.
Sharpton encouraged Trump to actually open the Bible, a scared book in the Christian tradition, and consider actually reading it instead of holding it as a prop, promising that he would not allow Floyd to be used in the same way.
Inspiring the crowd with lessons about exposing the truth and ensuring that Black people will remove the pressures of racism that continue to impose the proverbial “knee on our necks,” Sharpton provided example after example about why the marches continue and have spread worldwide.
“We don't want no favors, just get up off of us so we can do and be whatever we want to be,” he said.
Sharpton briefly mentioned the looting and violence that put many cities under seigh this week before explaining the difference between those asking for peace and those asking for silence.
In the last few decades, Sharpton has been at the forefront of civil disobedience and marches and expressed his comfort seeing people in Germany, London, with a majority of white allies, noting it is a different time and a different season to deal with police reform and accountability in the justice system.
After a day of mourning, Sharpton promises that in the next couple of months, the National Action Network and several other social justice organizations will come together for systemic change and the movement will be led by the families of those who have suffered this kind of pain the most. The next step is to come out with a path to reform.
Speaking directly to the Floyd family, Sharpton asked them to try not to lose hope and faith and to rely on the two to get through their grief and pain.
“Call upon faith and hope and lean in on the Lord and trust in his Holy word because he never failed me yet,” preached Sharpton, “From the outhouse to the White House and God will, God shall, God always has made a way for his children.”
The eulogy concluded with a thank you to several celebrities in attendance and the introduction of Gospel great, Bishop Hezekiah Walker.
A Celebration Of Life
3:15 p.m. ET/2:15:pm CT:
The memorial service honoring the life and legacy of George Floyd begins today with the rousing sounds of music from a gospel choir and accompanied by a full band and music direction. A scene all too familiar in the Black church as many of us have had to say goodbye too soon to loved ones this year, especially because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Thee men and a woman wearing all Black flank Floyd's body as the majority of mourners, representing all races, wear masks and attempt to practice social distancing inside the service.
A sign language interpreter also stands in attendance for the hearing impared.
While the country mourns and protestors march in the name of justice, the people most greatly impacted by George Floyd's death are his close family and friends. In attendance are his son, Quincy Mason Floyd, as well as his brother, sister, aunts, and others who feel the full and entire weight of this loss.
The service began with a welcome from Dr. Robyn Wilkerson, university chancellor of North Central University and a scripture reading by Rev. Jerry Macaphie from Psalms 27.
Following was a speech by North Central University President Rev. Scott Hagan who announced that a scholarship fund would be created in the name of George Floyd at the school and that he had already received a donation of $53,000 to contribute to the educational promise of young Black leaders. Hagan implored every university president to do more by establishing their own George Floyd memorial scholarship funds so people across this nation can attend the college of their choice.
After a prayer by Rev. Hagan, soloist Tawana Porter sand, “Amazing Grace.”
Invited to speak next is one of the family’s attorneys, Benjamin Crump who has a long past helping families navigate the circumstances of losing their lost ones to white violence.
“It was not the coronavirus pandemic that killed George,” said Crump. “I want to make it clear and on the record. It was that other pandemic that we are all far too familiar with in America the pandemic of racism and discrumination that killed George Floyd.”
To this end, Crump invited several members of George Floyd’s family to speak. Those who knew him as a boy, a young man, and as person finding his way as an adult.
Philonise Floyd, his brother, shared memories of growing up together eating their mother’s food and enjoying being together playing video games. Reminiscing about sleeping in the same room, using one of George’s many nicknames, “Perry,” washing each other's clothes, and sharing thoughts about the number of people who just wanted to cling to him.
“It’s amazing to me that he touched so many people’s hearts,” said Floyd. “I am just staying strong as I can because I need to get it out. Everyone wants justice and we want justice for George and he’s going to get it.
George Floyd’s youngest brother spoke as well as his nephew, Brandon Williams who shared stories about his uncle “Perry” being the father figure in his life that he missed. The young man spoke through tears to thank his uncle for being loving, caring and someone he could always count on no matter what.
Crump returned to quote Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. by saying, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it,” to which he received a standing ovation.
It was a reminder that we, as Black Americans, want is the opportunity to have the pursuit of happiness on this Earth. The denial of this right is what will propel this movement to seek justice by seeing the prosecution of the four former police officers who took Floyd’s life as well as a more just treatment of people of color by the American justice system.
1:55 p.m./12:55 p.m. CT
The private memorial for George Floyd will begin soon at 1:00 p.m. CT and the chapel on the campus of North Central University is filling with family, friends, pubic officials and celebrities.
Floyd was killed on May 25 just three miles from the sancuturay after he was handcuffed, arrested and suffocated to death by Minneapolice police.
Floyd, who was 46-years old, will be laid to rest in a golden casket decorated with purple flowers and above the pulpit a portrait of his that was created after his death.
Several notable names are expected to attend include:
Kevin Hart, Tyrese, Will Packard, T.I.,Ludacris, Master P, Jamie Foxx and Tiffani Haddish, Minneapolis Gov. Tim Walz, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith of Minnesota, U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald, Martin Luther King III, and Jesse Jackson.
Mourners will honor Floyd as well in New York City's Cadmen Plaza in Brooklyn at the same time of his memorial where Floyd's brother, Terrence is expected to speak among others.
Services of Rememberence
1:23 p.m. ET/12:23 p.m. CT:
After the memorial today at the chapel at North Central University in Minneapolis, there will be several other memorial services honoring the life and legacy of George Floyd. Later today, his body will be taken to Raeford, North Carolina, his place of birth and where many of his family members still reside. There will be a pubic viewing and family services on Saturday.
One Monday, there will be a public viewing of the body in Houston, where Floyd was raised and spent a large section of his life. He will be laid to rest after a service on Tuesday at the 500-seat Fountain of Praise church.
In Memory of George
Members of the local Black Nurses Rock organization will check temperatures as people begin to enter the sanctuary of North Central University for the memorial service honoring George Floyd. They are here at the request of Minnostoa Governor Tim Walz, who said he laid flowers at Floyd's memorial this morning, reflecting on what his death will mean for future generations.
The Body Arrives
1:00 p.m. ET/ 12:00 p.m. CT:
Details are emerging that police officers in Minneapolis, including Police Chief Medaria Arradondo took a knee as the hearse carrying George Floyd arrived at his memorial service.
The service will begin at 1 p.m. Central Time at North Central University in Minneapolis. There will be another memorial service ed by Floyd's brother Terrence Floyd in New York City and another schedule for Saturday in Raeford, N.C., where some of his family lives, and Monday in Houston, where he lived for several years.
Today's service in Minneapolis will institute social distancing rules, but allow family and invited friends to speak about Floyd's life and untimely death. Several protestors have said they will gather outside of the chapel to pay their respects during the service.
In addition to Rev. Al Sharpton and family attorney Benjamin Crump will be Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who died at the hands of New York City Police in a choke hold in 2014.
12:45 p.m./11: 45 a.m. CT:
This morning, led by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ,) several Democratic members of the U.S. Senate observed a moment of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds standing next to a statue in Emancipation Hall of abolitionist Frederick Doughlas. The poignant moment marked the same time span in which George Floyd had a knee pinned to his neck while being arrested on Memorial Day by four Minneapolis police officers. Some senators stood while others took a knee.
What You Need To Know
12:30 p.m. EST/11:30 a.m. CT:
Today, Thursday, June 4, George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died at police hands May 25, will honored with the first of several memorial services honoring his life and giving family, friends and the nation the opportunity to say goodbye.
The event is scheduled for this afternoon in Minneapolis where Reverend Al Sharpton and family attorney Benjamin Crump are expected to speak. Sharpton is expected to announce a new social justice movement during the memorial service that will demand federal legislation as a means to end racial injustice by the police.
While the Floyd family is there, three of the former police officers, who were arrested yesterday, will be in court for their first appearance, according to CBS News. J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Derek Chauvin, the former officer who pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes causing him to suffocate, had his charges increased to a second-degree murder charge which indicates that Floyd was killed "without intent," according to an amended complaint.
BET has been covering every angle of George Floyd’s death in police custody, other social justice cases and the subsequent aftermath and protests. For our continuing coverage, click here.
Photo by Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images