Pastor Manning’s column in Post and Courier

Commentary: Words matter, and Griffin’s actions are a teachable moment

To read the whole article, click here.

There is a growing claim that white supremacy isn’t violent and that there isn’t a history of systemic racism in America.

This dangerous rhetoric couldn’t be more false.

America is at the intersection of two pandemics: COVID-19 and racism. Black and brown communities across this country have felt ignored for centuries.

The killing of Ahmaud Arbery and the untimely deaths of Breonna Taylor and Walter Wallace Jr. at the hands of law enforcement are just a few instances where marginalized communities didn’t feel their voices were heard this year.

As the pastor of Emanuel AME Church, one of the oldest African Methodist Episcopal churches in the South, and the leader of the Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation, I will always believe it’s my job to unite, encourage people to meet on the basis of our collective humanity and ensure people’s dignity is not being stolen.

As we enter a new year, I’m praying it’s one where healing can truly begin. When we reflect on how our city responded in 2015 after the deaths of nine people during a church Bible study, most would say we swiftly came together and showed unity.

Some, however, believe that the “Charleston Strong” language was just another “tacky bandage” or Kumbaya moment to keep marginalized communities distracted from addressing inequities and injustices we continue to have in the Lowcountry.

As a member of the clergy, I want to firmly believe Charleston is still strong. Why? During one of our most trying times, we made it clear to the world that we know how to come together and listen to one another.