You will and have heard people tell you about this loving, strong man who protected us. He has witnesses here who can tell you who this man was and what he meant to his family and to his fellow officers.
My opportunity here is different. I witness for the community. It’s my privilege to tell you – and especially his family – what this man meant to this city.
I never met Officer Amir Abdul-Khaliq, but I have visited with his family. I first went by on Saturday to visit at Brackenridge. I would not bring it up except that Amir’s mother, Jalillah Abdul Khaliq, and her two daughters, told me something remarkable.
In a moment when they understandably would have been focused only on Amir, they asked me to thank everyone in our community praying for and sending love and positive thoughts. They said they felt the entire city’s support, and they were thankful.
This city, without question or exception, loved Amir Abdul-Khaliq.
When they heard he was hurt, they gave their attention and concern.
When the Chief said he needed blood, they donated.
When we were told he needed prayers, we prayed.
When we heard he didn’t make it, we mourned.
Most of those in our community who sent the prayers up didn’t know this officer. Some couldn’t tell you his name.
They didn’t know he was a Muslim and a Marine.
They didn’t know he was a black man in a blue uniform.
They didn’t need to know, and if by chance they did that wasn’t important.
All we needed to know is that he was one of ours.
In Austin, those who knew him loved him. Since he got hurt, people have reached out to me to tell me wonderful things about him.
But for most of us, all we knew was that one of ours needed our love and support.
To his children – Malik, Mati, Sacadah, Safiyyah, and Ibby – you are growing up in a world that would ignore the qualities that made your father special and divide him up to suit an agenda.
Not here. Not in Austin.
We don’t draw lines to divide ourselves in this city. We draw each other together.
I need you, the children of Amir Abdul-Khaliq, to always hold in your heads that we held him in our hearts, and we will continue to do so. I want you to always think of Austin as your home because this is where he made a home for you. His memory is one that we need to live up to, and his example makes us a better city.
When your father was in the hospital, your family felt our prayers and our support. That was real. This community hurts now alongside you.
When I was 21, my family and I lost my father, so I can tell you that the hurt will, little by little, recede. One day, it won’t hurt anymore, and in the same way, what will be left will be the love you have for your father and his love for you.
It is my prayer that this community holds onto those prayers and remembers those thoughts and shares that love.
It’s not enough to be our best selves when one of us is hurt or in trouble. We must show love and patience with each other in everyday life. It should be said that patience would have prevented this tragedy from happening in the first place.
It is up to all of us how we respond. When we leave today, let us see the face of Amir Abdul-Khaliq in everyone we see and treat each other with the patience, kindness and respect that we need so much now.
The community is so very thankful to have been served by, and to have been honored to share, Amir Abdul-Khaliq. May he rest in peace.