Wednesday, July 1, 2015

My Country

I am sad.
I have been down since the murders of nine church members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17th, 2015.
This was a hate crime.
This is domestic terrorism.
This was a horrific attack on people, who I can imagine, opening their arms, minds, and hearts to a young white man who walked into their sanctuary. The following weekend I was in Massachusetts with a very good friend not paying any attention to the news. I was happy to see her and spend time with her. She is recovering well from surgery. It was a wonderful weekend.

But since returning home to regular life, the murdered people of this community have been on my mind. And today, the news has reported that since the Emmanuel AME murders, six black churches have burned down. The latest incident happened last night. A church burned by the KKK 20 years ago was once again ablaze. They are saying it was hit by lightning.

I am sad.
I am scared.
I am afraid for what is to come.

President Obama's response to the Emmanuel AME murders was barely masked anger:

Jon Stewart's response was outright anger:

Mine is a deep sadness for the loss of the incredible member's of our American community. It is a detrimental loss to us all. The victims: (copied from

  • Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd (54) – Bible study member and manager for the Charleston County Public Library system;
  • Susie Jackson (87) – a Bible study and church choir member
  • Ethel Lee Lance (70) – the church sexton
  • Depayne Middleton-Doctor (49) – a pastor who was also employed as a school administrator and admissions coordinator at Southern Wesleyan University
  • Clementa C. Pinckney (41) – the church 
  • pastor and a South Carolina state senator
  • Tywanza Sanders (26) – a Bible study member; nephew of Susie Jackson
  • Daniel Simmons (74) – a pastor who also served at Greater Zion AME Church in Awendaw
  • Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45) – a pastor; also a speech therapist and track coach at Goose Creek High School
  • Myra Thompson (59) – a Bible study teacher.

Rev. Pinckney was the same age that I am. 


Out of sadness, frustration, and respect, I watched President Obama's eulogy for Rev. Pinckney:

"Reverend Pinckney once said, 'Across the South, we have a deep appreciation of history -- we haven't always had a deep appreciation of each other's history.' What is true in the South is true for America. Clem understood that justice grows out of recognition of ourselves in each other. That my liberty depends on you being free, too. That history can't be a sword to justify injustice, or a shield against progress, but must be a manual for how to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past -- how to break the cycle. A roadway toward a better world. He knew that the path of grace involves an open mind -- but, more importantly, an open heart."

Before I watched the eulogy I was composing an angry post in my head: why are we still fighting a war that was supposed to have ended 150 years ago? But now, I want put more effort into living with an open mind - and an open heart.

Yesterday I walked by a church and saw this Eugene O'Neill quote:

Be the change that you wish to see in the world. - Mahatma Ghandi.

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