It’s been a difficult few weeks in the US.
The police shootings of two African-American men have set off a new wave of protests against police brutality. A sniper in Dallas, Texas, killed five police offers at a rally a little over a week ago. And today, July 17, at least three more officers were shot and killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Speaking out against the violence is American politician, civil rights leader, and Baptist minister Jesse Jackson, who delivered a message at the funeral of Alton Sterling on Friday, July 15. Sterling, a father of five, was shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge earlier this month. His death is believed to be among the events that inspired the killer in Dallas.
Jackson began by calling for mourners to repeat after him: “Stop the violence. Save the children. Stop the guns. Stop the violence. Save the nation. Stop the violence. Save the nation. Never surrender. Keep hope alive.”
Jackson called for equality for black Americans, and emphasized the importance of an open dialogue in order to achieve that goal. “Our strongest weapon is not guns and violence; it is the rightness of our cause,” he said.
“Pain abounded, but hope must abound even more,” he said of Sterling’s death. “The best can be ahead of us. This is a transformative moment. We must choose reconciliation and retaliation over revenge.”
“We must not see the moral high ground for violence; we must heal the breach,” said Jackson.