I attended the 60th anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till organized by the Mamie Till Mobley Foundation. Friday, August 28, 2015 was the wreath laying ceremony.
I arrived at the Roberts Temple C.O.G.I.C. in Chicago, Illinois where the historical funeral of Emmet Till took place where Mamie Till Mobley demanded an open casket for the world to see what was done to her son. The family of Emmett Till were there thanking guests for attending the event. Emmett Till's cousin, Wheeler Parker, spoke briefly about witnessing his cousin being taken away from his grandfather's house.
After the family gave a brief statement with the news media, a processional was held from the church to Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, IL where Emmett Till and his parents, Mamie and Gene Till are buried.
There was an estimated 30-40 people in attendance at the cemetery that included poignant remarks, tributes, music selection and spoken word. Dignitaries in attendance were Father Pfleger of St. Sabina Church, Congressman Bobby Rush, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Dorothy Brown, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chaz Ebert, wife of the late Roger Ebert.
Also in attendance were mother's who have lost their child to violence. The mothers of Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Kendrick Johnson, George Kemp, Amadou Diallo and Sandra Bland. These women have been very close and have developed a relationship, including with the Till family. I was watching these women hug and console each other.
Sandra Bland's mother, Geneva Read-Veal, put her arms around these women talking to them. I don't know what she was saying because I didn't want to interfere in their private space, but it looked like she was offering comfort to them even though the loss of her daughter was recent.
One thing that I thought was awkward, was when people came up to these mothers smiling and asking to take a picture of them. It troubled me because they were acting like these mothers are celebrities. They are not celebrities. These are mothers that have lost their child and I believe they did not receive justice. I didn't feel that it was appropriate to take a picture with them, but I did give each one of them a hug.
Chaz Ebert, wife of the late Roger Ebert, is developing an Emmett Till movie based on the book "Death of Innocence." Looking forward to seeing this movie.
Overall, the ceremony was beautiful. The weekend activities included a YOUth EmPOWERment Day that held seminars and performances to empower the youth, followed with a gala and gospel explosion. Even though I was not able to attend the events, I'm happy I attended the wreath laying ceremony.
For the more information on the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation, go to www.mamietillmobleyfoundation.org.
To see my pictures of the Emmett Till Wreath Laying Ceremony, please "Like" my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SankofaTravelher.