Thousands gathered Friday to mourn the death of Alton Sterling, whose shooting death at the hands of white police officers sparked nationwide protests, NBC News reported.
The funeral was a celebration of Sterling’s life as much as it was a political declaration. Sterling’s family and a slew of speakers said sweet, sorrowful goodbyes while calling for justice.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jr. led a call and response with mourners: “Stop the violence, save the children. Stop the violence, save the nation."
"Unearned suffering is redemptive. There is power in innocent blood. If the killing of Alton Sterling would have been in a shootout or a drug bust or robbery, we would not be here today," Jackson said.
Sterling was fatally shot last week during a confrontation with police officers outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A second man, Philando Castile, was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop the following day in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. Castile’s funeral took place on Thursday.