A memorial service was held Sunday in Boston to honor the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, amid ongoing protests denouncing systemic racism and police brutality against black people.
The service was preceded by a funeral procession with three hearses that drove through Boston in honor of Floyd, Taylor and Arbery.
Faith leaders from several different congregations reflected on the lives lost and called for justice and systematic reforms.
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"We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families of Brother Ahmaud Arbery, Sister Breonna Taylor and Brother George Floyd," said Reverend Gloria White-Hammond of Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain.
"And we declare our solidarity with our sisters and brothers, we who are the hope and the dreams of the slaves, and all who are our allies in the struggle to ensure that justice rolls down like a river and righteousness like a mighty stream."
Taylor, a 26-year-old black emergency medical technician, was shot and killed inside her Kentucky apartment on March 13 by Louisville Metro Police Department officers. Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was chased and fatally shot by armed white residents of a South Georgia neighborhood back in February.
The service was held at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston, where people were seated apart from each other in a bid to practice social distancing.
Rev. Dr. Brandon Thomas Crowley of the Historic Myrtle Baptist Church in Newton said the deaths of Floyd, Taylor and Arbery reflected deep racial inequities.
"Their bodies now exhibit an entrenched reality shared by black people across this nation, that our lives do not matter in this country," he said. "And in a time like this, the systematic and state sponsored racism and institutionalization of oppression in this country is made even more evident when coupled with the impact of COVID-19."
Health officials in Massachusetts have noted that the coronavirus pandemic has hit black communities especially hard.
Imam Taymullah Abdur-Rahman said now was the time to fight against institutionalized racism.
"Racism is not effective because a thousand people call me the n-word," he said. "It is effective because it is organized people and organized money. Therefore, you and I have to ignite and answer that with organized people and organized money as well."
Protests across the state continued Sunday in the wake of Floyd's death while he was in police custody. Recent demonstrations in the state have remained almost exclusively peaceful.
Elsewhere in Boston, a rally and march calling for justice in the wake of Floyd's death kicked off from City Hall Plaza at 4 p.m..