People For the American Way

Statement on the Fifth Anniversary of the Charleston Emanuel AME Church Shootings


Contact: Laurie Kinney at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 571.882.3615

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the country marks the fifth anniversary of the Charleston Emanuel AME church shootings that claimed nine lives, Rev. Leslie Watson Wilson, director of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Religious Affairs program, released the following statement:

“Five years ago, we witnessed a tragic attack on members of a beloved and historic church known for its leadership in the civil rights movement. The anniversary of this terrible loss is especially poignant today, because had these leaders of the Emanuel AME congregation lived, they would have witnessed our growing national awakening to the horrors of systemic racism and violence. They did not get that chance. But we can be comforted knowing that they, including our friend and colleague Reverend Dr. Clementa Pinckney, are at peace, and believing that we are reaching a turning point in the fight they led for a more just and loving world. We will fight on and will always honor their memory.”

About People For the American Way

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: