On Wednesday in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, we suffered yet another unspeakable tragedy spurred by racism and hatred, losing nine people simply because of their existence.
While attending a prayer meeting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which houses the oldest Black congregation south of Baltimore and was an abolitionist stronghold, six women and three men were massacred by Dylan Roof. After sitting with the parishioners for nearly an hour, the assailant opened fire on the churchgoers, claiming he had to because African Americans were taking over the country.
This act of terrorism pierces another hole into our nation’s already tattered heart, and reminds us yet again that until we face our demons—our legacy of slavery, racism, and today’s devaluation of Black bodies—Black lives and our nation’s collective soul are in grave danger.
Our prayers are with the victims and families of this tragedy. We stand in vigil with your loved ones and community knowing that you were worthy, you were beautiful, and you deserved so much more.