Locally and nationally, people in the LGBT community and allies are horrified by the murder of nine black men and women inside their church in Charleston, S.C.
Eric Folkerth, Northaven Unitred Methodist Church:
Once again. Another angry white man with a gun. This is not acceptable. It’s being called a hate crime already. So don’t slam me for saying that racial hatred is still a cancer we must confront. WHITE PEOPLE must confront it. It’s OUR problem. It’s OUR cancer. Prayers for these members of our Methodist family. And shock and grief.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson:
I am shocked and saddened to hear of the disheartening news regarding last night’s shooting in Charleston, S.C. My thoughts and prayers are with the survivors and loved ones of the victims of this tragedy at the historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church. Among the victims was the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, pastor of the church and a dynamic state senator. A faithful public servant, his impact on parishioners is purely evident today as members of the Charleston community band together in solidarity.
I stand in solidarity with the church congregation, the friends and family of those affected and the community of Charleston during this very difficult time. There is absolutely no place for this level of hatred against peaceful worshipers in a religious sanctuary. Though we can find solace in the perpetrator’s recent capture, it is my hope that justice for this heinous crime be swift.
For generations, this church has been a beacon of hope for African-Americans who have endured years of racial strife in South Carolina. I am confident that this resilient community will come together once again to overcome this senseless tragedy.
Equality Florida stands today in mourning and in outrage at the murders of nine people inside their historic African-American church on Wednesday evening. It is a hate crime that has shocked the nation and claimed the lives of six women and three men, including state Sen. Clementa Pinckney. Our hearts go out to their families, friends and the entire community reeling from this brutal act of terror.
It’s impossible to make sense of such a “hateful and deranged” crime, as Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. put it. But we must note the connection between the deed and the hateful ideas that are said to have motivated it.
The alleged gunman sat through an hour of Bible study before opening fire. And when he ignored the pleas of his intended victims and reloaded his gun, he said, according to a witness. “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”
It is not enough to condemn the actions of a lone gunman; we must also confront the rancid, racist ideology at the heart of this crime. Not everyone who holds his apparent beliefs commits these horrific acts, but we must challenge those views that nourish the kind of moral depravity that led to this slaughter. #BlackLivesMatter
Jerame Davis, Pride at Work:
The horrendous crime that took the lives of nine African-Americans at the Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina yesterday is heart wrenching. In moments like these, words often fail, but we must speak out when senseless, racist violence takes innocent lives. Our thoughts go out to the victims and their families.
There is no justice that will bring back these nine people nor salve the grief of the surviving family members. The racist motivation of this murderer is another stark reminder that we must speak up and out to declare that #BlackLivesMatter. We will not rest until every corner of our country has heard that message and takes it to heart.
It is disgusting and deplorable that some are painting this act of hatred as anything other than racially motivated. The Emmanuel AME church is a symbol of black liberation and the killer was explicit about his motivation — even going so far as to tell a survivor he spared her so she could tell others what happened. Those who try to paint this as anti-Christian violence are deplorably engaging in whitewashing the truth of the matter to perpetuate a false narrative.
The violence, the racism, and the denial all must end. We are better than this.
Kate Kendell, National Center for Lesbian Rights:
There are moments when a headline is too much to comprehend. This is such a moment. The nightmare shooting and murder in Charleston of nine black African-American parishioners in a hate fueled racially motivated attack leaves us bereft and sick. There are really no words. We grieve for the families and for our country. We know our nation cannot go on like this and yet, here we are. Will enough ever be enough? Until we are willing to address race and entrenched racism in this country, the headlines will continue.