Jun 21 2015

Statement on the Violent Shooting Deaths at the Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina

On the eve of my 60th birthday, violence reared its head in unimaginable
proportions. 9 dead. 6 females. 3 males. Mothers/daughters.
Fathers/Sons. Pastor. Elected official. Family/Community. Innocent. Now

Forgive my staccato but my heart is heavy and my mind is straining to
make sense of gun shots from a professed racist released with
deliberate and calculated precision at the historic Emanuel AME Church
in Charleston, South Carolina.

On the walk we often spoke of the "simple truths" that dismantle the
notion of difference and brought us to a space of awareness of our
commonality. Simple truth "take aways" for me in regards to this
massacre are:

- We as a nation must address the deep systemic presence of racism alive
and well in our society. This deep rooted racism has the potential to
destroy America at it's very core. We must rise to meet this paradigm
shifting moment with deliberate truth and extraordinary leadership.

- Simple truth - in the hands of ignorance and fanatics guns do kill
people. What will it take before we as a country establish gun controls
that minimize the potential risks of weapon violence to this proportion,
particularly as weapons are becoming more lethal with a greater
potential for impact.

- Finally, Change happens when people change, simple truth.

May this revealing moment be our call to action to deconstruct
institutional and cultural racism and prejudice in America. May we all
be the leaders we need to be. May peace prevail in our hearts and in our
communities. May our collective love extend to the Emanuel AME Church
family who need us now.

In Peace,

Audri Scott Williams
United Religions Initiative, URI Global Trustee (Multiregion)
Global Peace Advocate & Walker, Motivational Speaker, Author


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