This 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 hates Black people and he carefully chose his targets with an intention to create fear. He left someone alive to spread his ‘message’ and ideology. This is terrorism. This isn’t just some troubled loner who snapped. It’s 2015 and Dylann 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.
Make no mistake, this man is not unwell or disturbed, he is evil. The system is not designed to recognize him for what he is. But we will. And we will also recognize his victims–the people who were faithfully worshiping God when they were killed. Our hearts and prayers are with their families. Here’s seven out of the nine victims (three men, six women):
Rev. Clementa Pinckney:
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.
Rev. Clementa Pinckney’s sister:
Her name or photo hasn’t been released, but she was also shot and killed alongside her brother. According to ABC News, it wasn’t immediately known if she was killed.
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.
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?”
She was Goose Creek High’s girls track & field coach. Sharonda was a mother of three and a reverend.
Daniel L. Simmons:
He was a retired pastor from another church in Charleston. He would attend Emanuel AME Church every Sunday and Wednesday for Bible study.
Ethel Lee Lance:
Lance was the heart of her family who worked for the church for more than 30 years.
These are seven of the nine deaths from the Charleston massacre. We will continue following this story to bring you all the names of those who lost their lives.