This is not the blog that we were supposed to post this week, but given the tragic events that have occurred in Charleston recently, I needed to share some thoughts on the murder of Walter Scott and the tragic mass shooting at Emanuel AME church last week.
I consider it a privilege and a responsibility to have been in Charleston this weekend. Charleston is the city where I was married, it is the city that my daughter was named after, and it is the city that has shown the world that an extreme amount of racism still exists. I found myself crying throughout these past few days when I think about what happened.
As a southerner, I am proud of so many things about my state, but it is the racism and small-minded thinking that drove me to leave the state and get involved in politics to try to make a difference in the lives of others.
Through the years I have had many arguments with friends and family members about the Confederate flag and what it represents. (For the record, I think it belongs in a museum where all old relics of significance belong as a lesson and as an education.) I have shut people down who have made racist comments or jokes, and my husband and I have shouted down family members at Thanksgiving who claim to not be racist but use terms like “those people”.
I had the honor of hand delivering the letters and poems that reflect the outpouring of support from members of the CCAH family to the members of the Methodist AME and Charleston families. It was a solemn and humbling experience. We stood in silence in the sweltering heat side by side and shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of people who came on Sunday to pray and to pay their respects to the families of those taken by such violence.
I have struggled to try to explain to my ten year old why someone would have so much hate that he could kill people who had made him welcome in their church. She was afraid to go at first because she didn’t want to get shot.
I was sick to my stomach to say to her, “You are white, the guy only wanted to shoot black people.” As our family walked hand in hand to the church, there were droves of families with children in strollers, baby bjorns, teenagers all trying to make sense of it.
As we walked back to our car, Charley, my daughter said, “Mom, I made up a rap song about this because it makes me feel better to sing my feelings.” It goes like this:
How could you do it when they let you in
Why do you hate them because of the color of their skin
I just don’t understand how I should feel but it is bad
I think I feel equally mad and sad