On Thursday, June 18, my life, and the rest of Charleston changed forever. To say I was shocked and heartbroken when the news hit about what had happened at Mother Emanuel AME, is an understatement. I live only 15 minutes away from the church; I pass by it almost every day.
Hearing the stories of that violent attack, it’s hard to shake those images off. I didn’t just feel deep sadness to be honest. Like many other black workers in Charleston: I’m angry, and I’m tired.
I work at Arby’s in North Charleston making barely above minimum wage. It’s hard enough that I have to struggle to survive on poverty wages, but people who look like me aren’t even safe in our houses of worship. Enough is enough.
As we take time to honor the lives of those 9 innocent community members we lost, I also want people to know the story of the church I knew, the story of a church that stands up for justice, and doing what’s right by black working people.
I first met Reverend Pinckney on the strike line to support our movement for $15 an hour and union rights, an issue he was passionate about, as he would often mention his mother was a low-wage worker.
He was a vocal and tireless champion for working people in the South Carolina Senate, pushing a bill that would give workers in South Carolina a much-needed raise. He was also on our side supporting a key #BlackLivesMatter Movement demand to hold police accountable, and address police brutality in Charleston following the brutal murder of Walter Scott.
Now is the time for workers in Charleston, and around the country to be united, to bring justice to our communities.
To honor Reverend Pinckney, the victims of this tragedy, and the largest and oldest church in the South, a church with a powerful radical legacy, we can’t just mourn, we need to organize.
Will you join me in honoring the Emanuel 9’s legacy by supporting the fight for justice and equality for workers in Charleston and throughout the South?
We will overcome, someday.