People For the American Way Foundation

PFAW Foundation Mourns the Loss of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a Member of Our Family


Contact: Layne Amerikaner or Laura Epstein at People For the American Way


Phone Number: 202-467-4999

On Wednesday night, nine people were killed by a gunman at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Among the victims was Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who also served as a South Carolina State Senator. Reverend Pinckney was a member of People For the American Way Foundation’s Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network as well as its African American Ministers Leadership Council (AAMLC).

“On behalf of everyone at People For the American Way Foundation, I want to convey my deepest sympathy to the families and community of Reverend Pinckney and the other victims of this crime,” said PFAW Foundation President Michael Keegan. “To see our friend and colleague struck down in a senseless hate crime is as heartbreaking as it is unjust. The People For family is richer for having known and collaborated with Reverend Pinckney. In the months and years to come, we will continue our shared work against bigotry and racism and towards a more just America in his memory. He will be deeply missed.”

“State Senator Clementa Pinckney was the kind of leader that America needs and the kind of colleague and collaborator that any elected official would wish for,” said Andrew Gillum, Director of PFAW Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network. “In my years working with the YEO Network, I’ve been blessed to have known and worked with many extraordinary leaders, and none were more committed to the cause of justice and equality than Clementa. I know I speak for every member of the YEO Network when I say that our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the people of Emanuel AME Church.”

“On behalf of all the members of the African American Ministers Leadership Council and affiliate People For the American Way’s African American Ministers In Action, I want to extend our prayers for our brother, Reverend Clementa Pinckney, to his family, the families of others who were also killed and to all the members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church,” said Rev. Terry Alexander of Monumental Missionary Baptist Church in Florence, a South Carolina state representative and an active member of PFAW Foundation’s AAMLC. “To have known and worked alongside Reverend Pinckney, both in the community and in the state legislature, has been a great blessing in my life. The scripture tells us that God turns our darkness into light, and I am deeply grateful for the light that Clementa brought into all our lives.”