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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Never Forget Mother Emanuel

June 17, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, released the following statement upon the first anniversary of the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina:

“One year ago today, a man filled with hatred seeking in his words to spark a “race war,” walked into one of our nation’s oldest and preeminent African American institutions and murdered nine innocent people joined together in fellowship and Christian worship. I traveled to Mother Emanuel after the killings and have been back a few times since, and can tell you that you can still feel the pain of the incident in that sanctuary. The congregation carries the heavy weight of history, as we all recall the days when racially-motivated attacks on the Black church were far too common. However, what was clear to all of us after the Charleston massacre and remains true today is that the people of Mother Emanuel never lost their hope and their faith. They met a moment of terror with compassion and forgiveness.

On this somber occasion, we reflect on the lives that were taken that day and the many lives that have since ended tragically because of gun violence and hatred. On this day, Members of Congress and policymakers must reflect on our responsibility to the people of Charleston and communities across the country that have been devastated by gun violence. We now live in a time when no place once considered a safe haven is without threat of terror or hatred. No elementary school, university, nightclub, movie theatre, or church is safe in a country that allows people to purchase military style weapons capable of killing many dozens of people at a time. Our resolve must be stronger than any lobby or special interest group. James 2:17 of the Bible instructs that “faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead.” So too is Congress if it continues time and time again to do nothing as our fellow Americans continue to fall victim to gun violence.”