August 28, 2015 marked the 60th Anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till. The family of Emmett Till and The Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation hosted a weekend of commemorative events in Illinois. These events served to recognize and educate the community at large about the impact of Emmett Till’s murder on the African-American community, the country, and the world. Other families victimized by racially motivated crimes were in attendance including Sybrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin), Kadiatou Diallo (mother of Amadou Diallo), Jackie Johnson (mother of Kendrick Johnson), Caladrian Kemp (mother of George Kemp, Jr.), Valarie Bell (mother of Sean Bell), Bobby (uncle of Oscar Grant), Michael Brown, Sr. (father of Michael Brown, Jr.), Geneva Reed-Veal (mother of Sandra Bland) and Ron Davis (father of Jordan Davis).
A procession was led from the 40th Roberts Temple Church Of God In Christ, the church where Emmett Till’s funeral was held 60 years ago to the spot of his burial Burr Oaks Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois. The mother of Emmett Till, Mamie Till Mobley, is also buried there along side her husband Gene Mobley. The procession was led by a special motorcade in remembrance of Emmett Till’s dream to become a motorcycle policeman.
Many family members and politicians were on hand to show their support.
“As I travel across the country supporting families who have lost their loved ones through hate crimes, I realized that Mamie lived her life fighting for our youth and fighting for Emmett’s legacy. She never had a moment to celebrate his life,” says Airickca Gordon Taylor, cousin to Emmett Till and co-founder of the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation. “This is why we have decided to host the Commemoration. This moment is for Mamie and all that she sacrificed. This is for Emmett, the sacrificial lamb whose death changed the course of the Civil Rights Movement.”
The day represented a moment of reflection and seeing the many parents who have had children die violently because of racism, white supremacy and black on black violence shows that after 60 years we still have progress to make. Emmett Till’s memory will not be in vain.