We join the nation in mourning the horrific massacre that claimed the lives of nine individuals at Emanuel African Methodist Church, known as Mother Emanuel, in Charleston, South Carolina. There, individuals gathered to pray – expressing their dedication towards improving their lives and lighting our world. Tragically, their prayers were silenced and their lives taken from us by the actions of a single individual.
This massacre is not an isolated incident. We remember the seven people who were massacred in 2012 at the Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. We also remember the three Muslim students recently murdered in North Carolina. And the three individuals who were killed outside a Jewish Community Center and Retirement Community in Kansas City. Each horrific event was fueled by hatred toward people of specific religious and ethnic backgrounds.
Mother Emanuel has been a liberating voice for civil justice since the 1800s. We have the power to continue this tradition. But how?
We must begin with ourselves, reaching across divisions to get to know our neighbors from different religious, cultural and ethnic communities. And we must start today.
If we don’t, we become the silent bystanders who watch and call for healing – but who fail to help solve the underlying divide in our nation – that fuels massacres based on our diverse ways of being human. Click here to read and download our Golden Rule from 12 different religious traditions, in five languages.
We send our deepest condolences to the victim’s families, the survivors and everyone impacted by this senseless tragedy.