Tallahassee Reacts To Charleston Church Shooting
By Christal Searcy
An influential group of Tallahassee leaders expressed a mix of emotions over the recent mass shooting during bible study at a Charleston S.C. church.
Sue Dick, President of the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, was seemingly devastated by news of the tragedy.
“First of all, as a Christian and a person of faith any crime right now seen on the news is devastating,” Dick said. “This circumstance touches harder because it’s in a place of worship and you know what that embodies. It’s a horrible situation; your heart breaks for the individuals.”
Dylann Roof ,21, has been arrested since the mass murder of nine people at a landmark black church in Charleston on June 17. The victims were attending bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
News of the shooting has spurred a series of rallies across the country. Even the White House weighed in as President Barack Obama offered words of comfort.
“We do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun,” Obama said from the White House.
After Roof’s arrest police found a racist manifesto.
“Hate has once again been let loose in an American community,” Vice President Joe Biden said. “And the senseless actions of a coward have once again cut short so many lives with so much promise.”
South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley addressed the massacre in which the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, the church pastor and a prominent State senator, was among the dead.
“Parents are having to explain to their kids how they can go to church and feel safe, and that’s something we never thought we’d deal with,” Haley said.
Local Pastor Julius McCallister of Bethel A.M.E. and a friend of Pinckney traveled to Charleston to lend a helping hand.
“I think that when we have our deepest pain and when we experience our deepest hurt that’s a cause for everyone to come together to look to God, the author and finisher of our faith,” said McCallister.
“Through Him, even though we can’t make sense of this – He can make sense of this. He is who He is. He ultimately gives us the necessary strength and spiritual substance we need in order to overcome this tragic situation.”
President and Publisher of the Tallahassee Democrat, Skip Foster suggested that the tragedy is bigger than race.
“I think we’re always in a struggle to figure out how to live together,” Foster said. “It’s not just blacks and whites. It’s men and woman. It’s liberals and conservatives.”
“There’s so many different ways that human beings are defined. It seems like we can never get it right but the value is in trying, the value is in working together, and the value is in the victories.”
Locally, Rev. R.B. Holmes, Pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and publisher of the Capital Outlook, called a Pastors’ press conference on June 19.
“The primary goal is to stand strongly and firmly with the members of the (Mother) Emanuel A.M.E church in Charleston, S.C.,” Holmes said. “Also, bring our religious community together to deal with the escalation of crime in the Tallahassee community.”
In the Pastors’ press conference Tallahassee religious leaders were asked to have a special prayer for the members of (Mother) Emanuel AME church on June 21.
“This is not a black problem. This is not a white problem. This is a human relations problem,” Holmes said.