This week marks the second anniversary of the horrific murders of Rev. Clementa Pinkney and eight of his parishioners, gunned down by a white supremacist at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church during bible study in Charleston, South Carolina. The attack remains a painful reminder that America as a nation has yet to reckon with its past, or to meaningfully address the policies and rhetoric that continue to create a culture that allows hate, division, and violence to thrive.
The attack at Emanuel AME was eerily reminiscent of the 1963 white supremacist bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which killed four African American girls attending Sunday School. Just three years before the attack at Mother Emanuel, a similar hate crime was carried out at another house of worship: a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. There, a gunman killed six people and wounded four others.
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LaShawn Y. Warren
Vice President, Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative