Funeral Companies Held For Civil Rights Icon Alvin Sykes Who Buddies Say ‘Bent The Arc Of Ethical Justi

In a thin crowd socially aloof to adhere to COVID-19 precautions, those who knew and worked with Alvin Sykes spoke passionately about his legacy as a lifelong warrior for justice and civil rights. Sykes died on March 19th. He was 64 years old.

In the practice that has become routine for funerals during the coronavirus pandemic, the service was held at the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church at 2310 Linwood Blvd. also broadcast live on Facebook.

Comments from the pulpit were commented on through a steady stream of Facebook comments from far and wide, unable to attend in person.

The Minneapolis-based Emmett Till Legacy Foundation issued a statement that read: “We are forever grateful for (Sykes’) dedication and determination in his many actions to seek truth, justice and accountability for the family of Emmet Till . ”

Sykes became known nationwide for his work on the Emmett Till case, who was 14 years old when he was murdered in Mississippi. Sykes later became the architect of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, which empowers federal law enforcement agencies to reopen unsolved civil rights murders.

Herbie Hancock, the internationally known jazz pianist who taught Sykes the practice of Buddhism, recognized Sykes’ commitment to Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a Buddhist organization.

Dr. Kevin Moncrief from SGI-US shared a virtual tribute that framed Syke’s work in a Buddhist context.

“Birth and death are the constant manifestations of eternal life that continue through the past, present and future,” he said. “Lord. Alvin Sykes has devoted his whole life to the cause of justice for all. We can best honor him by continuing his work.”

Talib Muwwakkil, chairman of the National Black United Front – KC Chapter, an organization Sykes helped found over 40 years ago, praised his commitment to the black community. He praised Sykes ‘mentoring and guidance to young people and spoke of Sykes’ ascetic life, which mainly worked for donations as a “good steward” of what he owned.

“He was a calm man, but when he spoke his words were wise and powerful.”

Kansas Senator David Haley, a close friend who hosted the service, read some of the many written tributes to Sykes.

This included messages from Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas and the Kansas City, Kansas City Council, Board of Commissioners, including personal condolences from Commissioner Gayle Townsend.

Sykes “bowed the bow of moral justice for generations,” Townsend said.

Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver sent word that he would read a proclamation on the floor of the US House of Representatives in Sykes’ honor.

At the end of the service, Haley said the best way to honor Syke’s legacy is to reflect his behavior.

“I hope each of us continues to be encouraged by our example,” said Haley, “not to complain about what we don’t have to work with to make a difference, but to continue to write our own legacy.”

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