RHOA's Phaedra Parks Shared 'Poignant' Moment with Rayshard Brooks' Widow at Funeral
The reality star said she felt "the energy of [his family] being able to release the hurt that they had from that tragic incident"
On Tuesday, Brooks' loved ones mourned the 27-year-old husband, father and stepfather during a service in Atlanta, held at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. once served as pastor. Several celebs attended the funeral, including Tyler Perry, T.I. and Tameka "Tiny" Harris.
The former Real Housewives of Atlanta star, 46, said she was "happy" to help arrange the event.
"It was unbelievable how much support there was from the community. So just to see everyone come together, unify in our city, which is the mecca of the civil rights movement. It was beautiful," Parks told Entertainment Tonight.
"That was a very heavy moment, but I was happy to serve the family, happy to have moments with his beautiful wife, his beautiful children and just to be present," she added. "It’s just very heartbreaking to know there are now four young children that are … without their dad."
Brooks was shot by police in the parking lot of a Wendy's restaurant on June 12, and soon died after surgery. Parks said she accompanied his widow Tomika Miller after the funeral to the location where he was fatally wounded.
"She requested that we take her to the Wendy’s where the incident occurred and I rode with her in the car. And we had such a very poignant conversation about this moment in time," Parks said.
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"She said to me, 'I never knew that I would be in this place.' And I turned to her and said that, 'This place is a place of purpose; a place of power. Because you’re now the face of an entirely new movement within the movement,' " said Parks.
"She said, 'He had always talked about being well known and doing things that would change the world,' And I said, 'Sometimes we don’t reach true fruition unfortunately until we have left the world,' " Parks recalled. "George Floyd started the movement; Rayshard added ember to the flame to make it even bigger."
Parks said funeral-goers went on a procession through the fast food drive-thru, a moment when she said she felt "the power, the energy of [his family] being able to release the hurt that they had from that tragic incident."
The reality star attorney is mom to sons Ayden, 10, and Dylan, 7 — and she explained that she now has a "whole new sense of purpose" in raising her children.
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"My children obviously saw the George Floyd incident on television and could not understand why that was happening," said Parks. "We had a really harsh discussion about it and I had to tell them the truth … you have to tell the very hard stories."
She added: "You have to make your children very aware of what goes on in the culture as far as, you know, race relations, how you might be perceived as a young Black boy."
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
- ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
- National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.