Reflections on the Charleston Church Shootings One Year Later

One year, that seems as if it passed in the blink of an eye. It can rush by in the day-to-day chaos that all too often defines our busy lives. One year can slip by unnoticed, as imperceptible as the beating of a heart, the flutter of a loved one’s memory through the mind. I know this because I have lived it.

For me, it seems baffling, almost impossible to consider that it was a full year ago this week that nine innocent lives were cut down by a savage murderer inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Unthinkable, an act of such pure evil and hatred in a space dedicated to brotherhood, love and worship for Almighty God. Yet it happened, and we must remember.

My cousin, Pastor Clementa Pinckney, was among the innocents who was targeted that fateful day. He passed at just 41 years of age, having already earned two Master’s degrees and been elected as the youngest person ever to the state House, and then just four years later as the youngest ever elected to the South Carolina Senate. He accomplished more in four decades on this Earth than many achieve in a lifetime.

As I look back today on the events that transpired a year ago, I am struck not by what happened as much as what did not happen. Our community, which could have come unglued instead came together.

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