Don’t worry … I very rarely get political here and I’m not going to start now. But as I was watching news coverage in the aftermath of the tragic Charleston shooting, I was struck by the words coming out of this remarkable community. Words of love, forgiveness, rebuilding, resilience, and strength. I don’t pretend to have any of the answers but what I do know is that love will always triumph over hate. These quotes from community leaders and family members of the victims were gathered as a reminder of this. I am not a religious person but several years of Catholic school taught me some simple, universal lessons. Blessed are the peacemakers, the merciful, the pure of heart. Turn the other cheek. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. My personal dream is for everyone to remember these mantras and there would be no more animosity, no more hatred, and no more senseless violence. No matter your beliefs, politics, or world views, I hope you can find some peace and inspiration from this remarkably strong community.
“We have no room for hate, so we have to forgive.” Bethane Middleton-Brown, sister of victim Rev. Depayne Middleton (Source)
“Love is always stronger than hate. So if we just loved the way my mom would, then the hate won’t be anywhere close to what it is.” Chris Singleton, son of victim Sharonda Singleton (Source)
“No evildoer, no demon in hell or on Earth can close the doors of God’s church.” Rev. Norvel Goff (Source)
“A hateful person came to this community with some crazy idea he’d be able to divide, but all he did was unite us and make us love each other even more.” Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. (Source)
“How do we eradicate the hate? How do we eradicate the violence? We search, but we search together.” Rabbi Stephanie Alexander (Source)
“Our sisters and brothers who are gone would say to let our light shine while we have it.” Rev. Jeremy Rutledge (Source)
“Why can’t the good people teach the bad people to be good? Just because someone is different doesn’t mean you have to do something bad to them.” 7-year-old Madeline, of South Carolina, who also drew the photo above. (Source)