A Massacre. A Hate Crime

From: Cornell Williams Brooks

President & CEO, NAACP

You’ve likely heard the news: Nine parishioners were murdered last night while attending Bible study at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

They were killed in cold blood by Dylann Roof, a white man who sat among them during their worship for more than an hour, then opened fire, declaring “You’re raping our women and taking over the country. You have to go.”

There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture.

In these times we feel distraught—but we will not cower when attacked. I am on my way to fellowship with the Emanuel AME Church community. As we wait for the facts and ponder how anyone could act with such hate, we must stand together and show our support for the Charleston community.

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Now that Dylann Storm Roof has been apprehended, we look forward to justice being served—to him being held accountable, punished swiftly and severely.

Our heartfelt prayers and soul-deep condolences go out to the families and community of the victims. This small gesture can console and unite our community—and our nation—as we grapple with the weight of this tragedy.

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In mourning,


Cornell Williams Brooks on the Arrest of Dylann Storn Roof

Dylann Storm Roof, the man accused of shooting and killing nine people inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.,  has been arrested. Subsequently, the NAACP has released the following statement:

From Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President and CEO:

“We are as thankful for the apprehension of the alleged Charleston shooter as we are horrified by the blood curdling heinousness of this act.  We appreciate the swift work of federal, state, and local authorities in apprehending the alleged shooter. We commend, encourage, and will continue to support the ongoing investigation and prosecution of the person responsible for the deaths of nine students of scripture in a beloved sanctuary.  The NAACP family continues to pray for the family of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the late pastor, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, and those who lost their lives in the Bible study.  As we mourn their senseless deaths, we remain resolved to continue facing evil and fighting for justice in every corner of America.

Our century-old, ongoing work of confronting violence with nonviolence, hate with love, and racism with the highest ideas of our democracy yet continues.  The mayor, police chief, and witnesses describe this shooting as a hate crime. The coward who murdered nine parishioners in a church set a new and depraved standard of inhumanity.  We, as Americans, by our resolve, determination, and commitment, through our faith, will set an infinitely higher standard of humanity.”