On June 17th, a small group met for a Bible study at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. A stranger attended the meeting for about an hour before he opened fire into the group.
Emanuel AME is one of the oldest black churches in America. Today we recall one of Emanuel AME’s founders, Denmark Vesey, who was a former slave and who worked to organize a slave revolt in antebellum South Carolina. He was executed by the state government in 1822. This week’s tragedy is a reminder of how often we have allowed history to repeat itself. In the face of racial terrorism, black churches, towns, and people have suffered—from the Civil War, to Birmingham in 1963, until today.
When we ignore that the color of one’s skin in this country determines their value and safety, we allow history to repeat itself, and inequality prevails. When we blame it on causes besides systematic racism, we allow history to repeat itself, and injustice prevails. Racial prejudice runs deep in our society and manifests in so many ways. Until we truly work to eliminate the weight of racism in our nation, horrors like the one suffered by the innocent congregation of Emanuel AME will continue.
The Columbia University Democrats are deeply saddened by the heartbreaking attack that occurred, and we wish to extend our condolences to the loved ones and community of those who were lost.
Rest in Power
Rev. Clementa Pinckney
Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton
Doctor, Rev. Daniel Simmons
The Columbia University College Democrats Executive Board
The above statement was voted on, and supported by, the current Executive Board in accordance with the procedures set forth in our Constitution. For questions, comments, or concerns, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.