Little Aiyana Jones is Buried as Hundreds Attend, Mourn
(Prayer vigil for Aiyana Jones held in May, 2010.)
Hundreds of people turned out Saturday for the funeral of a 7-year-old Detroit girl killed in a police raid and were told they must help stop the violence that has recently swept the city.
Civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton gave the eulogy for Aiyana Stanley-Jones, who died Sunday when a police bullet stuck her in the neck.
Sharpton questioned whether officers in the city’s affluent suburbs would throw a stun grenade into a house before entering as Detroit officers did. But he said that while he could criticize Detroit police and political leaders, he’d rather offer a broader message to the community.
“I’d rather tell you to start looking at the man in the mirror. We’ve all done something that contributed to this,” he said referring to Aiyana’s death.
He called on the congregation gathered at Second Ebenezer Church to help stop violence in the city, saying, “This is it. This child is the breaking point.”
The top half of Aiyana’s coffin was open before the service at the 3,000-seat contemporary Baptist church. A flower arrangement shaped like a princess’ crown and bearing Aiyana’s name was on a stand behind the casket.
Wearing a silky pink skirt and jacket with white socks and sparkly pink shoes, Aiyana held a pink rosary entwined in her fingers and a pair of small glasses.
She was flanked by floral arrangements shaped like a heart from her mother and father and an angel. There was also a collage of notes from friends, a pencil drawing of the young girl and a huge vase of flowers including pink roses from the law firm of Geoffrey Fieger, which is representing Aiyana’s family in a lawsuit against the Detroit Police Department.
About a half hour before the funeral was scheduled to start, Rev. Horace Sheffield of the Second Ebenezer Church quietly recited Psalm 23:
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for You are with me.”
Already in the church are U.S. Rep. John Conyers, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, Rev. Al Sharpton and Fieger.
Detroit City Council members, Pro Tem Gary Brown, JoAnn Watson, Andre Spivey and James Tate were among elected officials who stood when Sheffield announced them.
The family arrived just before 10:30 a.m. Sharpton, Sheffield, Conyers, Fieger and Ficano met them at the door.
Many of the family members wore pink to honor Aiyana. Pictures of Aiyana that were printed in the funeral program were shown in a montage on monitors outside the church sanctuary as mourners entered.
“Princess Aiyana” as an infant and toddler.
“Princess Yana” in pair of light pink framed glasses.
“Yana Momma” in a Hannah Montana shirt.
Aiyana’s kindergarten graduation certificate.
Some are saying that Aiyana’s family were gangbangers, as if to say that the child may have deserved her fate or that the family was to blame for her death. Not all of them. You’ve got to be kidding, people. Really.