There Is A Balm In Gilead: Call Their Names!
On July 17, 2015, another act of white terrorist hatred was perpetrated against Black people and the Black Church. In Charleston, South Carolina, the Pastor and eight Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church members were murdered during Bible study and prayer.
Today, June 17, 2021, the servant leaders of the African Methodist Episcopal Church make a call to remember, honor and respect the sacrifices of the Emmanuel 9, their families, and the survivors of that evil, tragic, murderous, and racist day.
The servant leaders of the African Methodist Episcopal Church call the United States and its government to a season of prayer, repentance, and healing! Yet, we know that it is impossible for authentic prayers to be prayed and healing to occur without acts of repentance that will heal the historical wounds of white supremacist spiritual, social, political, and economic violence.
While we are happy that President Biden will sign the legislation creating a federal Juneteenth holiday on the Anniversary of the assassinations of the Emanuel 9, we are deeply concerned about the refusal of the United States Senate to pass HR 1 (For the People Act) and HR 4 (John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act) and HR 1280 (George Floyd Justice in Policing Act).
In the shadow of the Centennial remembrance of the destruction of Black lives, property, and generational wealth in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Black Wall Street, it is difficult for us to believe that America wants to pray, repent, and heal. To heal means making those wounded by white supremacy whole.
To call the names of the Emanuel 9 in a nation that continues to pass statewide legislation to suppress the vote, curtail peaceful protests, and protect people of color from racist policing is difficult. It is difficult to remember the Emanuel 9 in a nation where the Republican Party of white supremacy blocks HR1, HR4 and HR1280.
To call the names of the Emanuel 9 in this season of violent white backlash means we believe that America wants prayer, wants to repent of its racist ways and wants healing and wholeness for all of its citizens.
If America wants to be a better nation, join us in our prayers of repentance and healing for the Emmanuel 9, their families, their community, and the country they loved. Join us in demanding that HR 1, HR 4, and the George Floyd policing act is passed. Join us in demanding that state legislatures stop passing racist laws that hurt all Americans. Then we can sing together and live together these words of the spiritual, “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole.”
As we call the names of the Emanuel 9 to God, let us remember Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and all who have died at the hands of white racism. Let us also remember the survivors and families that have been left to deal with the pain and grief caused by the loved ones ripped from them.
Lord, we remember and call out together the names of the Emanuel 9:
1.) The Reverend Sharonda Coleman-Singleton
3.) Mrs. Susie J. Jackson
4.) Mrs. Ethel Lance
6.) The Reverend Clementa Pinckney
9.) Mrs. Myra Singleton Thompson
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”
Dr. Jeff Cooper
African Methodist Episcopal Church
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