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In Grief and Solidarity

from Kristin Stoneking and FOR

To die violently and at the hands of hate in a place of worship, a place that is supposed to be inviolable, a place imbued with the energy of prayers spoken and shouted, hymns sung and moaned, bodies hugged and loved, is an unspeakable violation of goodness and justice in the world.

The Fellowship of Reconciliation stands in solidarity and grief with the Emanuel AME Church, the community of Charleston, and the families and friends of the faithful now gone from our midst.

This tragedy, the horrific slaying of nine Black people during a prayer meeting, is a manifestation of the violence of white supremacy and the suffering it inflicts. How long will we accept receiving tragic news of another mass shooting, another Black or Brown body gunned down, before we have the courage to go to the root causes of these tragedies: our deep national disease over the legacy of slavery and the ways that original sin has fueled an addiction to violence?

Grandmothers, state senators, teachers, Christians, mothers, students of God's word, brothers, sisters, community leaders, fathers, now gone. These nine individuals will leave a hole that a thousand others can't fill. But solace can be found in the truth this church community sought to make real in the world: that God is with us.

"Emanuel" means, literally, "God is with us." To make real the legacy of Emanuel, we must have the courage to resist and defeat any manifestation that counters the divine presence.

God is with us, and with all who suffer this day and every day because of the violence that permeates our lives, our stories, our communities, our relationships. Let us recommit ourselves to the work of justice, of reconciliation and of transformation.

In grief and solidarity.

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