Attorney Bakari Sellers summed up exactly why nine members of Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church were murdered in July 2015.
“White domestic terror is a real issue in this country. White supremacy is a real issue in this country. Let’s not confuse this issue. These individuals were killed because they were black,” Sellers said at a Thursday morning press conference held to announce news of an $88 million settlement between the federal government and the victims.
Sellers said the government’s decision to reach a settlement regarding its failure to properly conduct a background check was evidence that the U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland took those issues seriously.
“Props to ... (them) for having the audacity and the gall and the fortitude to stand up to white supremacists and terrorists in this country,” Sellers said.
Sellers noted that the 88 figure was no coincidence.
The shooter had the number written on his shoes.
“88 is steeped in so much white supremacy and hate, and so today we get to give a big … f*** you to the white supremacists and racists in this country by saying that we’re taking this tragedy that they tried to tear our country apart with, and build black communities and generational wealth,” Sellers said.
Eliana Pinckey, whose father State Sen.Clementa Pinckney was murdered that July day, spoke last, telling reporters money does not equal happiness and no dollar figure could ever bring back her beloved father.
Instead, the settlement served as an indication that her country, her government was willing not only to acknowledge that racism is alive and well, but to do something about it.
Now, it’s up to us and our leaders to make a decision.
We know racism exists.
What are we going to do to acknowledge it and confront it?