The massacre in South Carolina Wednesday was more than a hate crime. The act of terrorism on the members who gathered for prayer on Wednesday night at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. is further proof that racism is real and no one is safe.
21-year-old Dylann Roof professed his hate for Black people, and carefully chose his reported targets with an intention to create fear. According to reports, he left someone alive to spread his ‘message’ and ideology. This is terrorism. This is not just some troubled loner who snapped. It’s 2015 and Roof is a young White man who thinks, speaks and acts like it’s 1865, with so much scary conviction, impunity and cold-blooded hatred.
Roof allegedly told the victims before the shooting, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go,” said Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of the church’s slain pastor. Roof went to this historically Black church, sat in their Bible study for an hour and then opened fire on this victims. Sickening.
So often, the system is not designed to recognize certain criminals for what they are. But we will. And we will also recognize the victims–the people who were faithfully worshiping God when they were killed. Our hearts and prayers are with their families. Here are the victims:
Rev. Clementa Pinckney (41):
He was the pastor of the church, but he was also a state senator. Pinckney was a native of Beaufort, S.C., and graduated magna cum laude from Allen University in 1995. He received a master’s of divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of South Carolina. He was elected to the South Carolina House in 1996, when he was 23 and was elected to the state Senate in 2000.
Cynthia Hurd (54):
She was a librarian at that Charleston County Public Library (CCPL) for 31 years and was the manager at as the manager at St. Andrews Regional library since 2011.
Susie Jackson (87):
She was the oldest victim at 87-years-old. Susie was a long-time member of Emanuel AME Church.
Tywanza Sanders (26):
He was a 2014 graduate of Allen University with a degree in business administration. He died while trying to save a family member by jumping in front of them. That family member still died. Sanders was an aspiring rapper who eerily wrote a song called, “What’s Wrong With Being Black?”
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45):
She was Goose Creek High’s girls track & field coach. Sharonda was a mother of three and a reverend.
Daniel L. Simmons (74):
The 74-year-old retired pastor from another church in Charleston would attend Emanuel AME Church every Sunday and Wednesday for Bible study.
Ethel Lee Lance (70):
Lance was the heart of her family who worked for the church for more than 30 years.
Myra Thompson (59):
The 59-year-old was the wife of reverend Anthony Thomspon, who is a Vicar at Holy Trinity REC.
Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor (49):
As a minister, Depayne sand in the church’s choir and spoke on the pulpit with Rev. Pinckney. She leaves behind four beautiful daughters.