As the six thousand seats quickly fill in the Charleston Sports Arena for Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, there are thousands more outside who are not able to get inside.
It is still hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that nine days ago someone filled with hate would plot for six months to “kill Black people”. Correction, to ‘kill innocent Black people’. It is hard for most people to comprehend why a 21 year old could be filled with so much hate. However, after reading what is believed to be his manifesto, seeing his photos and other web postings, some questions are answered. And, there are some who question if a 21 year old actually wrote that manifesto on his own.
One thing that was pointed out on one of the radio talk shows is this: the year the confessed killer was born is the same year South Africa held its’ first free elections. Also, one of his web photos show him wearing the apartheid South African flag and the flag of Uganda (Uganda was previously Rhodesia ruled by a ruthless dictator). Another web photo shows him holding the confederate flag. These are just a few of the many symbols of racism and hate among the confessed killer’s web postings.
What is often true about life is, bad things do happen to good people. So, we may never understand this killer, why people are racist, why people think they have the right to suppress those who are different from them, or why America refuses to have a real conversation about racist peopls, racism, and race. Perhaps this tragic event will finally force America to have the discussion. And, perhaps it will force non-Blacks to finally face the fact that we do not live in a post-racist or post racial America. They need to acknowledge and deal with the fact that the elephant is still in the room.
I often say, “The reason why The Lord made all of us so different was to see how we would treat each other. Wow! Many are flunking.”
As the Emanuel A.M.E. Church family forgives the killer and continues to hold funerals for all nine faithful members, let us all ask ourselves: 1) What am I doing to help my family, church, and community excel? 2) What can I start doing today to help my family, church and community excel? 3) What can I do , and what am I willing to do different as a result of this and other injustices in our community?
As President Obama eulogized Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, he began singing the hymm, Amazing Grace. It was quite appropriate. And, it was quite moving to hear what a kind, caring, courageous, and tireless advocate for the less fortunate this father, husband, minister and State Senator was. While Rev. Pinckney will be missed, it is clear he will not be forgotten.