The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued the following statement in remembrance of the Charleston 9 on the June 17 anniversary of the shooting at Mother Emanuel A.M.E Church in Charleston, S.C.:
“The last week has been a difficult time for our nation as the lives of 49 innocent people were viciously taken in a nightclub at the hands of a shooter filled with hate and rage. And just one year ago, our nation recoiled in horror after a deluded young man, also filled with senseless hate, killed nine parishioners at weekly bible study at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
“It is morally incomprehensible that this same tragedy plays itself out with a disturbing recurrency. The hateful rhetoric we hear every day on television, on radio, from our elected officials, and even in presidential campaigns fuels and exacerbates the climate of hate that moves terrorists to take so many lives. This rhetoric seeks to paint minority groups as “other,” or “the problem with this country today.”
“We are angry, we are heartbroken, we are tired. But in times like these, we have to come together to heal. As an organization that was founded to fight against hate and discrimination, we must stand together, take action and make sure our voices are heard. We cannot allow silence to allow violent and hateful speech to grow and fester. We must speak out against hate and continue to urge our elected leaders in Congress to pass responsible gun control measures and hold them accountable for their actions and their words.
“On this tragic anniversary, we call on all the people of this nation to pause for a minute in silent reflection at 9:05 this evening to honor the victims and families of Charleston, Orlando and anyone who has fallen victim to hate. We must use this as a moment to resolve in our own hearts to change through love, fellowship, empathy and compassion. We cannot allow our country to once again mourn innocent lives taken as a result of bigotry, hatred and violence.”