As soon as we at WatchTheYard.com head about the death of Alpha Phi Alpha Bro. Reverend Clementa Pinckney, we reached out to the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Headquarters in Maryland to get an official statement.
The fraternity quickly responded to our request and Bro. Bryan J. A. Kelly, the fraternity’s Director of Communications sent us the following statement regarding the tragic death.
Last night, a white man in his early 20s walked into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, spent an hour in a prayer meeting, and then opened fire, killing nine people. Included among those killed was the pastor of the church and current state senator, the Honorable Clementa C. Pinckney, who happens to be a member of Alpha Phi Alpha.
According to the New York Times,
“Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of Mr. Pinckney, told NBC News that she had spoken with a survivor of the shooting who told her the gunman reloaded five times. The survivor, she said, told her that the gunman had entered the church and asked for the pastor. Then he sat next to Mr. Pinckney during the Bible study before opening fire.
“I have to do it,” the gunman was quoted as saying. “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”
Senator Pinckney served four years in the South Carolina House of Representatives and in November 2000, he was elected to represent the citizens of District 45 in the South Carolina State Senate. He is a magna cum laude graduate with a degree in Business Administration from Allen University and received a Masters in Public Administration from USC and further studies at Princeton.
Bro. Pinckney was not the only Divine 9 member killed in the attack. Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton and Soror Cynthia Graham-Hurd of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. were among the nine people killed while worshipping.
We commend Alpha Phi Alpha for calling this attack what it is– a “terrorist” attack. Many in the media are shying away from using this term which has been coded, misconstrued and only used when the attackers are islamic extremists or of middle eastern heritage. At the end of the day, Bro. Pinckney and the eight others killed were victims of a terrorist attack and targeted because the color of their skin. There is no way around it.