Tragically, most people are more interested in what Roof is going to say or do. “how is he reacting?” But the real stories are those of the survivors. So today, my focus is really on the amazing people, over 8 witnesses thus far, who are survivors, family and friends, of the Emanuel 9, who are teaching me and so many others the meaning of love and devotion. Through their stories and experiences I have learned more about patience, love, faith, parenting, survival, mourning, gratefulness, and yes forgiveness, than I ever thought I knew.
My personal takeaway is how much more difficult it is to be a person of color in our society and how much more is expected, just to get to what we casually refer to as a “level playing field.” It’s difficult for me to comprehend the stories of bravery, the monumental integrity, the impossibly high standards of behavior, the intense societal challenges, not just for these individuals but for all people of color. And yet somehow I find myself being able to relate as a fellow human being. Through these unfiltered stories, told by everyday heroes, we can begin to connect across these parallel universes and understanding can begin.