For Immediate Release
Statement from the Movement for Black Lives on Charleston Shooting
CHARLESTON, N.C. - Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E. church, which is steeped in the incredible history of resistance to slavery, will now be known as the site of an unspeakable and tragic act. Our hearts go out to the families of those killed. We also keep in our thoughts a congregation that lost its pastor and a community mourning the loss of its neighbors.
We are reminded today that while our attention has focused on increasing state and police violence against Black people, racist vigilante attacks are a large part of this country’s legacy. We must face the hard truth that our collective work goes much further than the implementation of body cameras and police reform initiatives if we cannot even be safe worshipping at church.
Whether its the murder of four schoolgirls at a Birmingham church in 1963, the killing of twelve year old Tamir Rice by Cleveland police officers, or the suicide of Kalief Browder after years of being unjustly imprisoned and tortured as a teenager at Rikers Island jail– our communities continue to suffer the many strains of a cancerous racism allowed to flourish in this country. While the arrest of this shooter must come as a small comfort to the families of those killed, we know we cannot arrest our way out of this country’s history or its present.
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Therefore, as a movement, we must say what our President cannot or will not say. This was an undeniable act of terrorism intended to strike fear into the hearts of Black communities at a time when we have bravely stood together declaring that #BlackLivesMatter everywhere.
We continue to fight for a world that values Black life in the names of all those we have lost, including and especially those who were killed last night on a date we will surely never forget.
The Movement for Black Lives Team, including:
Black Lives Matter
Black Youth Project 100 (BYP 100)
Million Hoodies Movement for Justice
Ohio Students Association
Baltimore United for Change
Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle
Concerned Citizens for Justice
Center for Media Justice
Democracy for America
Media Action Grassroots Network
Dignity and Power Now
Media Mobilizing Project
Voices for Racial Justice
Global Action Project
Media Literacy Project
Showing Up for Racial Justice
Open, and created by many voices, The Movement for Black Lives Convening will be a space to realize that promise fully on our terms as Black people. We invite all Black people invested in this movement to join the convening to shape our present and chart our future.