It is currently 1:01am and I have only just started typing up this post for Tuesday (yesterday) however once I am set on doing something, nothing stops me! Regardless, last week my friend Leanne asked me about my opinion in regards to the church shootings. Since then, the subject has been lingering in my mind hence I decided to put my ‘pen’ to ‘paper’ and let everything out.
For those who do not know a man named Dylann Roof, 21, was responsible for the massacre of nine individuals in an African- American church located in Charleston, South Carolina. He promoted his hatred for the black community by burning down the US flag, posing with guns in pictures and proudly beholding the Confederate flag (commonly associated with a time of slavery). He has currently been caught and arrested however, a lot more needs to be done in the meantime in order for justice to be served e.g. changing gun laws.
The victims of this tragedy were:
- Cynthia Hurd, 54, female
- Susie Jackson, 87, female
- Ethel Lance, 70, female
- Rev DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49, female
- Rev Clementa Pinckney, 41, male
- Tywanza Sanders, 26, male
- Rev Daniel Simmons Sr, 74, male, who died in hospital
- Rev Sharonda Singleton, 45, female
- Myra Thompson, 59, female
I would like to take this opportunity to pay my respects to those people and their families. Not only has the local community been damaged but a race. Since the attack, a church service has been held in order for people to pay their respects and also to illustrate the resilience of the church members since they demonstrate that hate crimes will not destroy their companionship and unity.
I hope that these people don’t die in vain and their deaths help put pressure on the US government to make a change on gun laws. There are so many incidents which have occurred in the past due to guns e.g. the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Thus, action needs to be taken NOW before any more disasters occur (I intend to write another blog post specifically about Gun Laws).
However, gun laws were not the only reason for this attack. Many would argue that racism was the main reason and this argument is completely justified. Several years ago, we used to live in a world where many rich Americans were slave owners but as time progressed this has changed. A couple years after, segregation & the Jim Crow laws became another cruel part of American history but we have managed to progress from there in order to allow people from both the white and black community to be able to sit on the same bus, learn in the same classroom and move forward together. Regardless, racism still exists.
This may sound weird but it has become a part of our life because at least once in your life time you will be involved, witness or relate to it. I am 16, yet I have experienced racism more than 3 times in my life span. Yes, this is better than living a life of marginalization e.g. in the 1930s but I can not sit here and condone what still occurs. People preach the ‘n’ word like its a message from god and the work of many civil rights activists seem to be ignored since we (yes WE) are allowing our past to come back to haunt us.
I felt disgusted and ashamed to hear that another hate crime has occurred in the US purely because of the colour of somebody’s skin. To make matters worse, it was carried out in a church which is a place which people can spiritually connect, find inner peace and join a community. However, after the attack many people were left contemplating over the question: “Am I ever safe?” Honestly, after such an event it is absolutely rational to say “No”. However, once we do, it is easy for self esteem, confidence and courage to be lost. We may have lost a battle but we can’t stop fighting the war.
The US is not the only place facing racism, it occurs everywhere in the world (even here in the UK). However, rather than simply acknowledging this we need to take a stand.
Actions are louder than words…
For the loving memory of those nine individuals – don’t be a bystander… Speak up! We can’t allow hate crimes like this to occur again!
P.S the beginning may sound confusing because I uploaded this 24hrs later.