Alton Sterling, who was killed by the police on July 5, was laid to rest on Friday at Southern University’s arena in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
According to the Daily Beast, hundreds people attended the funeral including, Baton Rouge city councilwoman Chauna Banks, Gov. John Bel Edwards, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Abdullah Muflahi, the Triple S store owner Mr. Sterling had befriended.
“He showed me a lot of love. He looked out for me. He was friendly, welcoming. He was truly the meaning of southern hospitality,” Muflahi said.
“He made himself a place in everyone’s heart, whether they was young, old. I know this because he made himself a place in mine. It’s just sad to see that we’re going to have an empty spot in front of the store. I’m gonna miss how we used to joke, how we used to make fun of each other,” he added.
Sharpton addressed the family, commending their strength and desire for justice, The New York Daily News pointed out.
“Despite the fact that a grave injustice has happened, you have held your heads high with great dignity and with a example of what this nation should be. But let us not beat around the bush. This is wrong,” Sharpton said.
“We’re not anti-police, we’re anti-wrong. It’s wicked to just let a string of killings go and nobody pays,” he concluded.
Jackson, who took to the podium, stressed that the Dallas shootings, which happened days after Sterling’s death, were not related to the Black Lives Matter. “Black Lives Matter did not train [Micah Johnson],” he said. “The military did.”
Jackson also called for peace. “Bless our nation, bless our president. We must choose reconciliation over retaliation and revenge,” he said.
Notably missing was Baton Rouge’s mayor Kip Holden, the Daily Beast noted.
“[Holden] did not offer his condolences to the family,” Gary Chambers, the funeral’s master of ceremonies told The Advocate. “He said recently that it would be inappropriate for him to attend, and I can’t say that I disagree.”
Clearly, the family was visibly emotional, including Sterling’s 15-year-old son Cameron. Wearing a tie with his father’s picture and the words “when will it end?,” the teenager broke down during the funeral and was later consoled by Jackson.
In the end, Sterling’s loved ones refuse to let his death be in vain.
“The injustices have gone on for many years,” said his cousin, Alton Sterling Jr. “Our great grandmothers were the property of our great grandfathers. Still today, we ask, when will justice find us?” he asked.