Hope Shall Prevail Over Hate.

Madeline’s picture of Emanuel AME Church and the “Beautiful Nine.” Courtesy of Madeline and riverofmuscadinespublishing.com.

President Obama; Attorney General Lynch; Lynch’s husband, Stephen Hargrove; Lynch’s father, Rev. Lorenzo Lynch; Lynch’s mother, Lorine Lynch; and Justice Sotomayor. Courtesy of C-SPAN.

Last week, I planned to post about Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s Investiture Ceremony. Great speeches were made, of course, but the image of President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, her family and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomoyor was so powerful. It was a beautiful site to behold.

I planned to talk about how the ceremony was worthy of the woman who now holds the office of Attorney General of the United States. From dealing with police brutality allegations to tackling corruption at the highest levels of FIFA, it seems the Attorney General scarcely had time for niceties like a formal welcome ceremony. I’d want to hit the ground running too, after the shameless runaround courtesy of the United States Senate.

I planned to write about how proud she looked, flanked by her husband and her parents, praised by President Obama, and sworn in by Justice Sotomayor, using a bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass. I planned to write that the speeches were as powerful as the image.

And I planned to write that I thought that Douglass, in spirit, would approve.

But just hours later, Douglass surely would weep. And then remind us to take heart, and to continue the fight.

(I still urge you to watch her remarks, or read them. She delivers her remarks beginning at the 37:10 mark.)

Courtesy Justice Department

The image taken during Lynch’s ceremony is indicative of who we are becoming as a country–diverse and multi-ethnic–and it is apparently too much for some.

It seems it was too much for an unemployed, high school dropout who has professed to the murder of nine souls–The Beautiful Nine–people who had done nothing to him but accept his presence during their Wednesday night Bible Study at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.

From left to right: Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Daniel Simmons, Rev. Depayne Middleton Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lee Lance and Susie Jackson. Courtesy nbcnews.com

And here, I shall write their names: Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Daniel Simmons, Rev. Depayne Middleton Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lee Lance and Susie Jackson. We shall not forget them.

Days later, and it is still too hard to comprehend, to fathom…this horrible and intentional act. And now the families and friends of the Beautiful Nine begin to say their final goodbyes, and bury them with the honor no murderer could steal from them.

So now I look upon Lynch’s investiture ceremony with a sense of pride, and a spirit of defiance. Because we are not going back to those bad old days. We are going forward, with excellence and a true patriot’s spirit to make the United States even better.

We must have hope–the hope that will prevail over hate.

And we may be seeing signs of that hope. That despicable confederate battle flag may be coming down in South Carolina. It’s going to disappear from license plates in Virginia thanks to Gov. Terry McAuliffe. And Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama  ordered the removal of those flags from a memorial site in the state’s capitol. These are small, symbolic steps forward that can sustain us to make more substantive progress, even in the midst of tragedy.

Charleston, and indeed our entire country, is saying goodbye to Senator Pinckney today. President Obama will eulogize him shortly. I will update the blog with the President’s remarks.

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Feeling the “Fierce Urgency of Now.” | Speeches & Sprints

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