By Karen Stokes
“Mike said he was going to shake the world,” said Cal Brown, Michael Brown Jr.’s stepmother during the funeral.
And shake the world he did. This week approximately 5,000 friends, family members, residents, White House aides, civil rights activists and celebrities gathered at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, Missouri and overflow rooms to celebrate the life of Michael Brown Jr.
Brown is the unarmed, 18-year-old recent high school graduate who was fatally shot on August 9th by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
This tragedy garnered attention worldwide and ignited protests for justice in Ferguson and across the country.
The service was televised on national cable networks and streamed through websites across the world. The service consisted of lively gospel music, prayer, praise dancing and reflection.
The diverse group of supporters included celebrities.
Among them were filmmaker Spike Lee, radio personality Tom Joyner, Martin Luther King III, Reverend Bernice King, Hip-hop artist David Banner, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Snoop Lion, Jesse Jackson and Sean Combs.
Also attending were the family members of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Emmett Till and Sean Bell. Victims of previous fatal confrontations who came together in support of Michael Brown Jr.’s parents, Michael Brown Sr. and Leslie McSpadden.
CNN reported that the White House sent three officials to the funeral but Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri did not attend.
“Mike was curious about what God had to offer,” added Cal Brown at the service. “He wanted to go to college and raise a family.”
Along with Cal Brown, family and friends came to the podium to take a few minutes to reflect on Michael Brown Jr.’s life and appeal to the audience with a call for peace and change.
“Today is a day of peace. Peace and quiet,” said Ty Pruitt, cousin of Michael Brown.
Activist, Reverend Al Sharpton gave the eulogy at the service. “Nobody is going to help us, if we don’t help ourselves,” said Sharpton. “We are required to leave here today and change things.”
Sharpton added, “We can’t forget what we have seen (in Ferguson) we must continue to peacefully protest.”
“This afternoon, Leslie and Michael Sr. have to do something that is out of order, they will have to lay their son to rest,” said Sharpton.
Later that day on MSNBC’s Politics Nation, Al Sharpton talked about Brown Sr. and McSpadden, “Even though their grief is unimaginable, even through pain, they acted with dignity.”
People of Ferguson and all around the country are trying to move forward and start healing. Monday night after the funeral, close to 500 residents convened at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park, Missouri for a town hall meeting.
On an interview with CNN, Kevin Powell, New York activist and author, hosted a town hall meeting entitled, “Where do we go from here?” said, “There was a diverse group of hundreds of people, Black, white, old and young. We listened to voices of young people to sustain this movement.”
“There is nothing wrong with criticism and complaints as long as you bring solutions,” explained Powell.
Kevin Jackson, author and resident of Ferguson, shared his thoughts concerning solutions at the town hall meeting, “Going forward we need to analyze the leadership and what they are doing for the community.”
There were similar town hall meetings in Nashville, Boston, Sacramento, Dallas and Cleveland. Michael Brown’s death affected people nationwide, internationally and in Milwaukee.
Khalil Coleman, Milwaukee resident, founder and executive director of Changing Lives Through Literature, is presently in Ferguson.
“As of now, its peaceful with no demonstrations going on as with the first week,” said Coleman. “The police have gated the occupation site and the strip is clear. It all started the day of the funeral, when the family asked for a day of peace.
Another local perspective was from Milwaukee resident Rosalind Britton, “In the United States no person should be shot down like a dog, this should not be,” said Britton.
“The funeral was just beautiful, it was good to see the unity. I watched the funeral streaming on WISN. COM.”
“I was impressed that so many people of many races came to the funeral,” said Pat Walker, 60, of Milwaukee. “I believe that more white people are realizing if these things can happen to African Americans, it can happen to them, so they are paying attention.”
Many people are paying attention but opinions are still divided.
CBS News stated that Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot Brown, has gone underground since the shooting but his supporters have come forward and donated cash to Wilson’s Gofundme page.
Almost $400,000 was raised by approximately 9,000 people.
In contrast, 8600 supporters of Michael Brown contributed $250,000 to the Gofundme page setup for Brown.
Unfortunately racist comments forced administrators of Gofundme to close the comment section.
CNN reported there is a newly released audio tape which includes an audio of gunfire at the time Brown was shot on August 9. A forensic audio expert analyzed the recording and detected 10 shots..a cluster of six, followed by four.
The tape could have a huge relevance on the case. The FBI is currently investigating.
The Grand Jury is reviewing evidence in the case and there is a federal investigation underway. Investigators are grappling with witness statements that include shifting and contradictory statements and some are just recanting stories they have heard in the media.
Witnesses and a friend of Officer Wilson have also given conflicting accounts of the events of Brown’s death.
“You understand that Michael Brown did not want to be remembered for a riot,” Sharpton said. “He wants to be remembered for this is when they started changing what was going on. The policies of this country cannot go unchallenged.”