Darryl "DJ" Roman Burt IIA funeral is a difficult but important community ritual. We come together to honor, to mourn, to celebrate a life and a presence of which we have now been deprived.

Darryl "DJ" Roman Burt II died in the Orlando massacre in the Pulse nightclub, celebrating achievement of a master's degree just two days before. His family hosted a celebration of life for DJ before laying him down in his final resting place on Saturday June 25, 2016.

It was an honor to attend his funeral, along with Diversity Richmond Program Committee member Janet Avery. The event to honor Darryl Burt was well attended, filling the available space in the Amelia County High School auditorium.

It was solemn, heartbreaking, tear-filled but also joyful in the remembrance of a young and meaningful life. Gathered to celebrate his life and early passing were family, black churches, his Claflin University Concert Choir, friends and even strangers.

In the wake of such tragedy experienced in the Orlando massacre, it is important to publicly and communally mourn the loss of our dear departed. I wish that the necessity had never come about, but I am so grateful that Janet and I could be there to honor the life and mourn the death of this talented, vibrant and beloved young man. Rest in peace, DJ.

Ray Green is a Diversity Richmond Board Member and Program Committee Chair.

Photo: Darryl "DJ" Roman Burt II. Photo courtesy his family.