Two years ago, my mother plus two cousins
had been among the nine black parishioners who had been shot and killed by a hate-fueled man at the Emanuel AME cathedral in Charleston, South Carolina. Growing up, we all witnessed and heard of so many racially motivated hate crimes in residential areas like ours, including the Birmingham church bombing
in 1963, which slain four young, innocent black women.
But never in my living did I think our country might return to such unspeakable acts associated with violence and intolerance. And then the white supremacist walked into the family’s church.
There is a direct correlation between the assault and racism in Charleston as well as the violence and racism in Charlottesville, Virginia. And until we stop systemic racism in this country, African-Americans will continue to disproportionately bear the particular devastating effects of gun violence in the us.
Not just did the Charlottesville protesters bring their Nazi and racist red flags and spew their bigoted chants, but they also openly carried their own guns to scare and bully others. In this case, the deadly tool that resulted in one loss of existence and 19 injuries wasn’t that gun, but a car that rammed directly into counterprotesters. My heart aches for your family of Heather Heyer, as well as the groups of the two police officers killed yesterday whilst monitoring the protest.
It is extremely dangerous to ignore someone who utilizes the Second Amendment to incite anxiety while donning Third Reich plus Apartheid-era symbols. And we can no longer close our eyes and ears whenever we see such hate on display. When i know from Charleston, hate, whenever armed with a gun, becomes deadly.
Since the mother and cousins’ death, I possess devoted my life to being an often recommend for gun violence prevention. Within the days after their deaths, I discovered my previous work as a trauma chaplain did not properly equip me to deal with a traumatic event when it handled me directly.
In my exploration for knowing, I began to pay attention to how our own lax policies, especially those encircling guns, played a part in detest cutting short the innocent life of those beautiful individuals at Mom Emanuel.
As a black woman, I know it will require a mighty powerful lift regarding America to begin doing work to cure the racial strife that has endangered and hurt so many communities. Even though I know our laws can only achieve this much to overcome this generational curse, I am determined to advocate intended for policy changes that can help protect a lot of vulnerable communities forced to live since targets of discrimination just because associated with who they are.
According to Everytown For Gun Basic safety, a nonpartisan organization devoted to decreasing gun violence, more than 20 hate offences
involving a gun occur in our country every single day — this particular amounts to more than 8, 500 a year.
And when we look at a situation like Virginia, where the white supremacist rally was held, and which allows the particular open carry of firearms upon its streets, we begin to observe how guns coupled with racism, misogyny, sexism, homophobia or transphobia can be used to bully marginalized Americans.
This is entirely unacceptable.
This summer, Sen. Greg Casey, D-Pennsylvania, and Rep. Jesse Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, introduced the particular Deactivate Hate Act,
which may prevent individuals convicted of chaotic misdemeanor hate crimes from having or purchasing guns. While there isn’t one complete solution for this problem, this law would be a crucial initial step toward protecting other households from the pain and trauma my own has experienced.
I am not a policy professional, but I know that we all possess a right to live in this country, no matter our race, gender, faith, sex identity or orientation. We should not have to fear that a hate-fueled individual may fatally shoot us in our host to worship, university or movie theater.
We have interceded. We have marched. We have cried. Yet as Charlottesville reminds us, right now we must act.
We cannot wait a moment lengthier.