-- Crowds of mourners gathered to say their final goodbyes to Alton Sterling, the 37-year-old man who died after being shot multiple times during an altercation with the police, at his funeral service today in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Gospel music filled Southern University's F.G. Clark Activity Center as people lined up to pay their respects to Sterling during the visitation. Many dressed in black mourning attire, but others wore "Black Lives Matter" shirts.
Among those in attendance at today's funeral are two of President Barack Obama's senior advisers, Roy Austin and Stephanie Young, according to the Associated Press.
Speakers include Congressman Cedric Richmond of Louisiana and civil rights activists Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton.
"We need our elected officials to wake up, to show up, to stand up and to speak up," Richmond said. "We have to stand up and change the mentality of shoot first and ask questions later."
Rev. Jesse Jackson called Sterling a "martyr," and said "If the killing of Alton Sterling had been in a shoot-out or drug bust or robbery, we would not be here today."
"Our strongest weapon is not guns and violence, it is the rightness of our cause," Jackson added. "There is power in innocent blood."
"We must choose reconciliation over retaliation and revenge," Jackson said. "We apologize to you Alton, we could have done better when you were alive."
He leaves behind five young children, according to the Associated Press. Writer-Actress Issa Rae started a scholarship fund for Sterling's children that has since raised more than $700,000.
Sterling's eldest son, Cameron Sterling, broke down during a press conference last week, crying out, "Daddy!" and seeming inconsolable. The 15-year-old stood before President Barack Obama yesterday and asked the president to keep his "family safe" and to "unite all the races of the world."