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‘What God Put Together’ — Rev. Al Sharpton Talks Sanctity of Black Life at Patrick Lyoya’s Funeral

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The Rev. Al Sharpton reminded mourners that Black people are created in God’s image at the funeral of 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Friday.

“We were created in the image of God,” Sharpton said in his eulogy April 22. “When you see us, you are seeing what God put together. And what God put together, you don’t have the right to violate.”

Hundreds gathered at Renaissance Church of God in Christ in Grand Rapids for the funeral, which was also livestreamed. Some mourners donned shirts reading “Justice for Patrick” as they paid their respects to Lyoya, whose white casket was draped with the blue, red and yellow flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Lyoya, a 26-year-old Congolese man, was fatally shot by a Grand Rapids police officer on April 4. Initially pulled over for a mismatched license plate, a video released Wednesday (April 13) shows the officer, who is white, shooting Lyoya in the head after a brief scuffle. The officer’s name has not yet been released, despite demands from Lyoya’s parents. Earlier this week, a forensic expert confirmed that Lyoya died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Michigan State police are currently investigating the shooting.

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Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.


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