Much has changed, but a lot has stayed the same since tragedy unfolded a year ago at “Mother” Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The Rev. Clementa Pinckney was killed along with eight others last June by Dylann Roof, a White man who entered the church under the guise of wanting to join a Bible study group. Five others escaped the attack without life-threatening injuries.
Roof, who published a racist manifesto online that was discovered after the shooting, transformed the national narrative on the place of Confederate flags on government property, and moved President Barack Obama to up the ante in his national discourse on race after years of criticism by some for failing to do so.
And in a welcome turn of events, Attorney General Loretta Lynch is seeking the death penalty against Roof, a White man, in the death of nine Blacks.
Here are some things that have happened since.
1. Emanuel AME Church appoints first female pastor.
About six months ago, the Rev. Betty Deas Clark became the first female pastor to lead the church. Her first sermon was about hope, saying the church’s best days are ahead.
2.Obama sang “Amazing Grace” at Pinckney’s funeral eulogy.
After a moving eulogy that both memorialized the Rev. Clementa Pinckney and called for the removal of the Confederate flag, the President led the congregation in the singing of “Amazing Grace.”
3. Bree Newsome removed the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse.
Activist and North Carolina educator Bree Newsome climbed a 30-foot flag pole and snatched the Confederate flag down from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds. The effort was part of ongoing social media petitions #TakeItDown and #KeepItDown, designed to remove the flag, especially from government institutions.
4. Dylann Roof did not receive a police escort to Burger King.
Noting his calm demeanor and arrest after the shooting, some media outlets reported that police took Roof to Burger King on the way to jail. It would have been a slap in the face to African Americans, who have long been victims of excessive and deadly police force, hence the Black Lives Matter Movement.
But Roof, a self-professed racist, was not escorted to Burger King, according to Snopes:
While the original Charlotte Observer article’s mention of Burger King was fleeting and not well detailed, that sole description stated that police “bought” Roof food from Burger King, not that they “brought him to Burger King” (which conjured up a slightly unnerving scenario under which a suspected spree killer was essentially handled with kid gloves, taken out to mingle with patrons at the restaurant of his choice, and even perhaps gifted a paper crown).
5. Feds seek death penalty against Dylann Roof.
The Justice Department last month announced federal prosecutors would seek the death penalty against Roof. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she arrived at the decision after a rigorous review of the case’s factual and legal issues. “The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision,” she said.
SOURCE: Snopes | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO CREDIT: YouTube