Grieving with Charleston | Not in Our Town

Grieving with Charleston

We need to show the people of Charleston that we stand with them in their time of mourning.

After the shootings in Charleston, SC
Source: David Goldman/AP Photo

One moment, people were praying in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, and the next, nine people were shot to death. Our hearts reach out to the friends and families of Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45), Tywanza Sanders (26), Cynthia Hurd (54), Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr. (74), Rev. Depayne Middleton (49), Susie Jackson (87), Ethel Lee Lance (70), Myra Thompson (59) and Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney (41), church pastor as well as South Carolina State Senator. 

According to an eyewitness, the shooter sat with the Black congregants in Bible study for an hour prior to the shooting. His words and actions made it clear: these savage killings were motivated by hate. 

Though our shock and grief is still hard to express, we need to find our voices, reach out to those around us and support the families of the victims. From all parts of the community, we need to show the people of Charleston that we stand with them in this time of mourning. 

Click here to read messages of support for the victims and their families from community members from Oak Creek, WI, who faced deadly tragedy when their Temple was attacked in 2012. The conversation also continues on Facebook

Here are some news articles about the events in Charleston:




To the Families of the Victims, the members of the Emmanuel AME Church, and the caring citizens of Charleston,

We are grief-stricken and terribly saddened by the hate killing in your church this week. We want you to know we care and that you are not alone. At a time like this, the unspeakable acts cannot render us silent, but rather we speak out and will continue to stand with you against all acts of hate and racism. 


Becki Cohn-Vargas

To the Families of the Victims, the members of the Emmanuel AME Church, and the caring citizens of Charleston,

We are deeply saddened by this tragic and senseless event. It comes through loud and clear what great people these were, and whose many great acts and talents we will now be without here on this earth.

The Shasta County Interfaith Forum is sponsoring a vigil for support of Diversity, and specifically for African-Americans and the people and church in Charleston, South Carolina on Sunday, July 5 at 7:30 pm at the Sundial Bridge, Redding, CA.

You remain in our thoughts and prayers.

It is times like these (and it is always times like these) that remind us of the true importance of Not In Our Town. Our embracing philosophy of “creating a safe community for all” speaks of our hopes for everyone to live productive lives and prosper with respect for both our differences and our common aspirations.

But we can only build on our hopes by speaking out: against hatred, bigotry, and bullying, and for a world that rejects violence.

Now, more than ever, we all must understand that the Not In Our Town movement is the wave of the future: our effort to be sure that the hatred-based violence in Charleston never happens here.

To the Families and Friends of the Victims at Emanuel AME Church,

I want to express my deepest sympathy and compassion for the losses and heavy pain you are enduring. I know words cannot change this reality or make things “better,” but I am writing to say that I care very much. I wish there was more I could do. I’ve prayed so much for you all, the souls of those lost, and the racial issues in our country. I am a White woman who is trying hard to advocate for the racial injustice that happens far too often. In my experiences I often receive silence when trying to engage other White people to have a conversation about race issues and challenge themselves, but I always receive some positive response. My point in telling you this is that there are White people grieving with you – not in the personal way that you are, but grieving no less. I will continue to pray and advocate. You have more friends than you know and I love you.

Most Sincerely,

Late on Wednesday night, Dylan Roof shot and killed nine people while attending a bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The nine individuals included three men and six women aged 26 to 87. One of the victims was South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney, who also was the pastor at the church. Dylan, a 21 year old white male is now is police custody.

NIOT BG joins the country in expressing our profound sadness and outrage at the senseless killing of these individuals who were targeted because of their race.  We find a special grief that this event was in the context of an historic house of worship that has been a bulwark - a sanctuary - for African Americans in Charleston for nearly 200 years.  In the aftermath of Ferguson, Baltimore and more recent events, this continued violence on our African-American/Black brothers and sisters needs to stop. How many more lives need to be lost for action to take place?

NIOT BG supports all efforts to express solidarity with the AME church in Charleston, to comfort its members, and to squarely face the underlying roots of acts of racial violence in our society.  We ask that all in our BG community stand with our African American brothers and sisters, especially those who will gather for worship on Sunday here in BG and around the country.

The National NIOT movement is providing an outlet for comments on their blog at:  Those who wish to send personal expressions to the Charleston AME Church can use this address:  110 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401.

NIOT BG will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates via the listserv and Facebook as necessary.

On this sad and tragic day in Charleston, South Carolina we extend our deepest sympathy, heartfelt care and prayers to the families who lost loved ones and all the residents of Charleston. We hope the grieving families and all the people of Charleston realize that millions of Americans have them in their thoughts and prayers.

This is yet another historical example of a horrific murder of innocent victims by a perpetrator of racial hatred based on the false ideology of the superiority of one race over another race. The deep-seated prejudice and bigotry found within some individuals and extremists’ groups have resulted in these horrific acts in communities across our country resulting in the deaths and injuries of so many innocent men, women and children over time.

We hope that people of good will everywhere will redouble their efforts to stand up against the purveyors of hate in all its manifestations. As the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

We hope parent’s will hug their children tonight and share this message of love from Dr. King with them.

With the Deepest Sympathy for the families in Charleston,

The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations Board

Christie Wood, president

Tony Stewart, secretary

Words cannot express the depth of heartache. My prayers go out to you for healing today and to all of us for a better, more loving country tomorrow.

I can't begin to understand how the families of the 9 feel. It isn't just their loss though it ours. Every time we lose someone like Clementa Pinckney we lose a champion. I only hope that someone else will rise up to carry on his work. God bless the families and friends of the nine and may justice be theirs.

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