Last night, 21-year-old Dylann Roof entered Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina and asked to sit with Pastor Clementa Pinckney. After one hour, Roof stood up and opened fire, fatally shooting 9 Black people.
It is hard to make sense of such an unspeakable tragedy, to know what to do in the face of such vile terrorism. Our hearts and minds are with the families and loved ones of those killed, survivors and the AME community at large as they begin the long and difficult journey towards healing. Yesterday's massacre confirms that for Black communities, there is no safe haven from the violence and brutality of racism, not even a house of worship.
In the coming days there will be much work to do to address the root causes of this tragedy and to secure justice for those who lost their lives, but today we stand with our community and the families in grief and mourning over this devastating event.
Will you sign the card below to support the survivors and family members of those killed? We will deliver your voices in person along with flowers.
Yesterday will be remembered as one of the worst mass shootings targeting South Carolina's Black community in history. In a harrowing account of the massacre, survivors highlighted the anti-Black racism that fueled Roof's attack. In response to pleas for him to stop the violence Roof said, "You rape our women and you're taking over our country. And you have to go." Although the victims' names are yet to be revealed 6 women and 3 men were killed, including Pastor and South Carolina Senator Pinckney. Roof has been arrested and the Department of Justice has launched a hate crime investigation.
This grave assault strikes at the heart of what it means to be Black in this country and the ongoing struggle for our dignity, safety and freedom. This church is the largest and oldest Black congregation south of Baltimore. More than 52 years after the Birmingham Church bombing, which galvanized the civil rights movement, we are forced to face the reality that Black life is under attack. At pools, at church, in our own neighborhoods, we are not safe.
Now, it is more important than ever to intensify our efforts to transform the policies, practices, institutions and cultures that fuel anti-Black racism and puts guns in the hands of racist vigilantes. In recent months, we've seen greater national attention focused on discriminatory and violent policing targeting Black communities. But the fight for our humanity is happening on all fronts. The same dehumanizing stereotypes and implicit bias that fuel racial profiling and mass incarceration led to yesterday's attack.
Show your support and solidarity with the people of Charleston by sending your condolences today.