19 June 2015

Massacre In South Carolina: The Confederate Flag Still Flies

Today I’m not going to stick to the topic of this blog.  Instead, I want to talk about something that, I’m sure, you’ve heard about by now:  the massacre inside the Emanuel AfricanMethodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina .

One of the cruelest ironies is that members of a Bible study group—including the church's pastor, who also happens to be a  South Carolina State senator—in one of America’s oldest historically black churches were gunned down by a young white man who sat with them on the eve of Juneteenth— a few days after the 800th anniversary of King John issuing Magna Carta.

And the Confederate Flag flies in front of the State Capitol.

A century and a half after slaves in South Carolina and Texas and other states got word that they were free men and women, a young man hadn’t gotten the message that the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees all citizens, regardless of their skin color, the rights enumerated in the first ten amendments (a.k.a. the Bill of Rights).  Heck, he didn’t even get the message thatthere’s no such country as Rhodesia anymore.  He was simply acting from the same sort of ignorance, the same sort of hate, that left earlier generations of young African Americans hanging from trees or at the bottoms of rivers.

And the Confederate Flag flies in front of the State Capitol.

More than a century and a half after the Emancipation Proclamation, in the state in which the opening shot of the US Civil War was fired, a young man entered a Bible Study group and waited for the “right” moment to shoot someone nearly as young as he is, people old enough to be his parents, grand-parents and great-grandparents.  He shattered the peace and sanctity they found in what, for many generations of African-Americans—and, perhaps, for those members of the Bible Study group—has been their closest-knit, if not their only, sanctuary.

And the Confederate flag flies in front of the State Capitiol.   

From the church's website.

A pastor was killed along with a deacon and laypeople.  Families lost sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers; friends lost friends and people lost spouses and other loved ones.  They loved and were loved; they raised families and were raised by families.  And they contributed to the lives of their communities through their professional and volunteer work, and the loves and interests they shared with those around them.

And the Confederate flag flies in front of the State Capitol.

Dylann Storm Roof, in an instant, ended the lives of Rev. (and Sen.) Clementa Pickney, Mira Thompson, Daniel Simmons Sr., Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Tywanza Sanders, De Payne Middleton, Ethel Lance and her cousin Susie Jackson. All of them, one hundred and fifty years after Juneteenth.

No comments: