Our nation has experienced yet another tragedy in the hands of hate, and our hearts hang heavy today with the Emanuel AME Church community; the families of these loved ones, and the nation as a whole. This is a time to mourn the loss of these individuals, who were leaders, pillars in their community.
But, this is also a time for us to recognize this happens too often. Too often do we hear on the news that another life has been lost as an act of hatred was carried out; too often do we hear another black man has lost his life and nothing is being done to hold those accountable; too often do we hear about violence that is perpetuated in the name of racism.
The slaying of these nine people, as they were praying in a church is an act of pure evil and hatred. It is a tragic reminder that though we have made great strides, we have much work to do to eradicate the senseless hate of racism, the daily consumption of a racist legacy that continues to exist.
In Charleston, the roads that black people drive on are named after confederate leaders who fought to not see these people drive freely on them. The confederate flag still hangs at full mast today. It is not just the legacy of racism that is alive and well, but perpetual, unconscious actions that continue to open the gaping wound of racism. We see this not just in Charleston, but even here, in West Michigan.
As so many national leaders have made clear, we all are saddened by the loss of nine innocent people in the hands of such hatred. We are in tears to see a nation, a community, and the families experience such loss. Today, we all grieve with Charleston.
Gail Harrison, Executive Director
Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance
Note: Imagine Fellowship will host a special service on Sunday, June 21st, 2015 at 5pm to commemorate Juneteenth. Those in attendance will join in prayer for Charleston, the victims, and their families. All are invited to attend this service and join a march from Imagine Fellowship to Maple Avenue Church & Ministries that will follow.