For Release: June 18, 2015
Contact: Judy Kent at (703) 759-7476 or [email protected]
Project 21 Mourns Senseless and Tragic Murders at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston
Washington, D.C. - Members of the Project 21 black leadership network are joining millions of Americans in mourning the senseless and tragic murders at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston Wednesday night. Among their comments:
"A sanctuary of worship and spiritual devotion in Charleston, SC was interrupted by senseless violence. At this time, it is imperative that prayers and a spirit of unity be offered to families and a community experiencing grief and sorrow. We are painfully reminded that evil still seeks to destroy, but with God's grace and help, good will still triumph."
- Demetrius Minor, Project 21 member and pastoral assistant, Calvary New Life Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Emanuel AME Church and all those affected by this awful tragedy. I hope we can all focus on the victims in this tragedy and their grieving families and not the proverbial political spin or any other agenda."
- Cherylyn Harley LeBon, Project 21 Co-Chairman and former senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
"This isn't time for violent riots or race baiting. It's time for prayer and leadership. Officials at all levels, mayor, police, governor, National Guard, congress, president need to pray and enforce peace and justice.
"By the way, evil knows no color. My grandmother Alberta King was shot down and killed by a crazed black man while playing the organ in Ebenezer Church in Atlanta in 1974. My mother Naomi King, Daddy AD's wife, was in the ambulance with BigMama when she died. We didn't riot, we prayed. Decisive prayerful and positive action is needed now! Granddaddy King said pray and forgive.
"Pray, don't riot. People are being slaughtered in the womb, in their beds, and, for God's sake, while worshipping in church. This isn't just about race. It's time for the human race of Acts 17:26 to PRAY FOR AMERICA!"
- Alveda King, Fox News Contributor, author of KING RULES, director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, and daughter of the late civil rights activist Rev. A.D. King
"This is probably one of the most repulsive things I've heard of in my life. Obviously race was a factor and this was a hate crime. However, beyond that, as a clergyman I am truly appalled that the age-old notion of the church, or religious house as a sanctuary, has been violated.
"For most of the Christian era, the ability to claim this safe harbor was recognized by most countries, governments and individuals. The church is the hiding place of David found in Psalm 32:7. It says, 'Thou are a place to hide me in; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.' It's a cowardly and craven act for this individual to shoot people in the middle of prayer. Yes, race was obviously a factor, but it's an affront to God."
- Right Reverend Council Nedd II, Ph.D., rector of St. Alban's Anglican Church in Pine Grove Mills, PA and author of Does America Hate God? Faith Under Fire (February 2015).
"My thoughts and prayers are with the families in Charleston, South Carolina whose loved ones were victims of this heinous and cowardly act last night. I ask that we allow these people time to mourn their losses before we start demagoguing and politicizing this senseless tragedy."
- Christopher Arps, Project 21 member and co-founder of Move-On-Up.org
"My prayers go up and out for those nine people who were martyred at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last evening. I also pray for the families of those murdered as well as for the community Charleston as they mourn and try to make sense of what happened and why.
"Now isn't the time to descend into meaningless and pointless arguments that politicize this act of terrorism; shame on those who do.
"Right now, we should simply call this what it is - an unadulterated act of evil. Those who politicize this event and those who have already done so undermine their moral credibility and soil the memory of the innocent people killed while praying and sharing their faith in Christ.
"These nine people didn't deserve to die and they don't deserve to have their untimely deaths distorted and politicized in the sewer of politics.
"In this time of mourning, we should persist in prayer and echo the words of the Psalmist, that 'The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit,' and that, 'He is our refuge in times of trouble.'"
- Derryck Green, Project 21 member and doctoral student in ministry at Azusa Pacific University
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for nearly two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).