There were plenty of high-profile speakers at the funeral of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old from Missouri whose death at the hands of Police Officer Darren Wilson set off weeks of protests in Ferguson, Mo. But one of the most moving speeches came from a member of Brown's family: his cousin Eric Davis, who delivered a forceful call to action to the young people who participated in the protests.
Davis took the lectern to recall how Brown "was a big guy, but he was a kind, gentle soul." Brown had been out "spreading the word of Jesus Christ" on the day of his death, and told his family, according to Davis, that "one day, the world would know his name." He noted that the families of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis were in attendance.
Then Davis turned to reflect on the motivation behind the protests, channeling the anger that many in the community have long felt over unfair treatment by the police. He addressed what happens next in Ferguson after the cameras leave and the media attention dies down, imploring young activists to make their voices heard at the ballot box:
This generation stood up when all of this was occurring, and said, "We have had enough. We have had enough of seeing our brothers and sisters killed in the street." And they're speaking to those who are in charge right now — those who are in positions of power — and saying, "Hear our voice. We have had enough of this senseless killing. We have had enough of it."
And what you guys can do to continue this is show up at the voting polls. Let your voices be heard, and let everyone know that we have had enough of all of this. And this change must come. And anytime change has come in this country, it has come from the youth, and the young generations. God bless you.
Direct political action seems to be exactly what demonstrators have in mind and might just be exactly what Ferguson needs to start to change things for the better.
Last week, protesters in the city set up voting registration booths to encourage demonstrators to do exactly what Davis is calling for — get out the vote. But one Missouri Republican called the booths "disgusting" and "completely inappropriate," claiming that such a registration drive is "fanning the political flames."
Watch Davis' passionate speech in full here: