ST. LOUIS -- Michael Brown Sr. spoke briefly at a gathering here on Sunday night to call for peace ahead of the Monday funeral for his son.
"Tomorrow all I want is peace while my son is being laid to rest," Brown said. "Please, that's all I ask. And thank you."
Since a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer shot and killed Michael Brown Jr. on Aug. 9, the small St. Louis suburb has been consumed by daily protests and a militarized police response. But in the past few days, the Ferguson protests have been mostly quiet. Hundreds of protesters have marched peacefully up and down the road near where Brown died.
Michael Brown Sr. seemed to be holding back tears as he spoke to the crowd of hundreds at the annual Peacefest, an event in St. Louis calling for an end to gun violence in inner cities. The Rev. Al Sharpton, who spoke at Brown's side, said Brown told him that he had come out to show support for the community that had shown support for him.
"Even if I just show my face, I want them to know even in my pain, I appreciate what they're doing," Sharpton said Brown told him. "Tomorrow he lays his son to rest, but tonight he wants to show you he loves you."
Trayvon Martin's father, Tracy Martin, and mother, Sybrina Fulton, also attended Sunday's event, as did U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who was born in St. Louis.
Tracy Martin, an East St. Louis native, spoke at Peacefest last year. He had already been scheduled to speak again this year before Brown was shot -- but Brown's death added a somber resonance.
"Y'all stood with the Trayvon Martin family, we're gonna stand tall with y'all," said Martin, who appeared on stage after Brown left. "Our kids need to be treated as equals, so it's time to stand up."
Video by Emily Kassie of the Huffington Post.
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