Tonight marks one week since the massacre of the nine innocent South Carolinians who were sitting in peaceful worship at the space of black spirituality.
The trauma is real and devastating. It is demanding and commanding an answer. It will not get over itself quickly. It is perhaps more than the lynching of black men and women at the hand the nation's police, perhaps more than the moder-day-slavery that continues as black bodies languish in the private prison system, sold on the auction block for corporate entities; it is perhaps more than the ten-plus months of shouting that black lives matter; it is more than the destruction of the inner-city neighborhoods and school systems that support young minds; it is the soul strike of an institution that dared to be free.
Black churches across this country are connected to Mother Emanuel, the nation's oldest black church in the south, the place where Denmark Vesey spoke of freedom, the sanctuary where countless black boy and girls learned their first history lessons. The AME church is the spine of black worship, the liberation sought and taught after slaves were literally pulled from their knees in 1787 after they dared to worship the God introduced to them by their slave masters. The same churches were their minister masters were in pulpits telling them that God commanded them to obey, but they soon discovered the identity with a savior who suffered at the hands of an evil system. It was the place were resistance was supported and training was demanded. It was more than a building, it was a soul space in a deeply segregated place.
The attack on that black church was not by accident. It was purposeful, intentional, it was meant to send a message.
What the terrorist coward didn't realize however, was the history of that same church was one born of resistance, of standing up to the face of evil murderous cowards and declaring liberation, that this same church born of Richard Allen and Absalom Jones' quest to live as fully actualized beings, this same place would not close the doors in petrified fear, would not stop speaking, teaching, and yes, even welcoming the stranger into the gates. The cowards did not win.
In the week that has ensued since the slaughter of innocents, there have been calles for gun control, commentary on the segregation of the nation, the place of the black church, the systemic racism that still pervades the country, the confederate symbol that remains on the flags of the southern states deeply entrenched in their hurt pride from losing war 150 years ago. There will continue to be an examination of what was uncovered and what is yet to do. It ended the hand wringing questions of if racism still existed, the killer said it was about race, period, point blank, like the gun he aimed first at the men and then at the women,
Perhaps now there will be an examination of the systems and an imagination of what a more perfect union could be if all men were treated as equal, if the land of opportunity was truly that for the sunkissed 13%. As the naiton prepares for the funerals, the conversation must continue, in a much deeper way than even the ones that began after Ferguson.
It is past time.
Otherwise, the nation will perish at the hands of ignorant fools like the young terrorist who got to have it his way on the way to jail.