All of us at CJP and JCRC were deeply saddened and horrified by the recent terror attack on innocent parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Emanuel A.M.E.) in Charleston, South Carolina. On Wednesday, June 17, nine innocent people were shot and killed during a Bible study meeting. Dylann Roof, who allegedly told his victims that his crime was racially motivated, now stands charged with nine counts of murder.
CJP and JCRC have donated $10,000 to the Lowcountries Ministries --Reverend Pinckney Fund, which will be administered by the Palmetto Project (a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of South Carolinians). Reverend Clementa Pinckney is one of the shooting victims, and he was a pastor at Emanuel A.M.E. Church. These funds will be used to support local initiatives that serve his home church, vulnerable populations and the youth projects that Reverend Pinckney was so passionate about.
In addition, we are donating $5,000 to local violence prevention programs. These funds will be split between the Roxbury Presbyterian Social Impact Center and the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute.
The Roxbury Presbyterian Social Impact Center is the non-profit arm of an important local African American church led by Reverend Liz Walker. The Center’s mission is to create educational and economic development programs to strengthen the Roxbury community and address the epidemic of violence. They focus on violence prevention and supportive services to heal from grief and trauma.
The Louis D. Brown Peace Institute was founded by Tina Cherry following the murder of her young son Louis, 20 years ago. The JCRC works with Tina and her Institute as part of our organizing work to prevent gun violence. Their mission is to serve as a center of healing, teaching and learning for families and communities dealing with murder, trauma, grief and loss.
Though money can never replace the lives that were lost in Charleston, we give these contributions as an act of solidarity. An attack on a house of worship is an affront to people of faith and good conscience everywhere. Though sadly this tragedy is not unique, we can never become inured to images of violence and death in a holy setting. We join with leaders of all faiths in condemning this act of hate and again call for this to be a turning point in the epidemic of gun violence.
Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the victims and their families, the Emanuel AME Church, the AME community across the country and our friends locally, and the entire city of Charleston.