DNC Statement on Mother Emanuel AME Church Shooting Anniversary

On this day nine years ago, nine people, all of whom were Black, were brutally murdered while they were praying and attending a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. To recognize the lives lost, DNC Chair Jaime Harrison, a native South Carolinian, issued the following statement: 

“Nine years ago, members of the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church welcomed a stranger to pray with them. After listening to their Bible study, the stranger took the lives of nine souls in a senseless act of racially-fueled gun violence. Among those who lost their lives that day was my dear friend and a beloved community leader, Pastor Clem Pinckney. I mourn his loss and the loss of his eight fellow worshippers every day, and my thoughts are with the family members of those that were killed and the survivors that endured that dreadful night.

“The Charleston community and Americans nationwide were devastated by the tragedy at Mother Emanuel and shaken by the violent act of white supremacy. As one of the South’s oldest Black churches, Mother Emanuel’s walls are a physical representation of the resilience of the Black community and our faith that we will achieve a fairer, more equitable society. It has survived natural disasters and a ban on Black churches, and rose from the ashes after it was burned for its association with a slave rebellion. 

“In the wake of this kind of devastation, thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need action – and that’s what President Biden and Vice President Harris have delivered. The gun violence accomplishments of the Biden-Harris administration are a testament to the enduring spirit of Mother Emanuel. In the years since the Mother Emanuel shooting, President Biden and Democrats have continued to fight for progress: They established the first White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, invested in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division after Trump neglected it for years, and implemented the first significant piece of gun safety legislation in nearly three decades, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

“Meanwhile, Donald Trump and extreme MAGA Republicans are digging in their heels to block additional commonsense gun regulations.

“In order to truly live in a world free of gun violence, hatred, and prejudice, there is still more work to do. We must honor the memories of those killed at Mother Emanuel and so many others who have suffered by joining together to pass commonsense gun control laws. There is still a long way to go on the road toward true fairness and equality, but I believe in our nation, I have faith in our better angels, and I know through hard work and perseverance our dreams of a more just society will come to pass.”