Following the tragic mass shooting of nine people in Charleston, South Carolina last week at one of the State’s oldest and most historic churches—the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church—President of the United States Barack Obama has eulogised slain State Senator Clementa C Pinckney during his funeral in Charleston overnight.
To honour Clementa C Pinckney, who the President knew personally, Obama’s eulogy was both deeply religious and acted as a rousing call to action over gun violence and gun control in the United States .
President Obama said the Charleston tragedy could be seen as an opportunity to act and “find our best selves“.
“As a nation, out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us for he has allowed us to see where we’ve been blind. He’s given us the chance, where we’ve been lost, to find our best selves.”
The Confederate Flag was criticised by Obama as a symbol of “systematic oppression and racial subjugation.”
This week in one image: pic.twitter.com/DBs7iEiFJl
— David Roberts (@drvox) June 26, 2015
Obama also praised the public announcements of forgiveness to the alleged shooter Dylann Roof by some family members of the Charleston victims, and condemned the frequency of gun violence in the US.
“For too long, we’ve been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation. Sporadically, our eyes are open: When eight of our brothers and sisters are cut down in a church basement, 12 in a movie theater, 26 in an elementary school. But I hope we also see the 30 precious lives cut short by gun violence in this country every single day.”
The President also spoke on racial relations in the US, claiming action, not more conversation, was needed.
“None of us can or should expect a transformation in race relations overnight. Every time something like this happens, somebody says, ‘We have to have a conversation about race,’. We talk a lot about race. There’s no shortcut. We don’t need more talk.”
A congregation-wide singing of ‘Amazing Grace’ was also powerfully led by President Obama.
Clementa C Pinckney was a Democratic State Senator of South Carolina and Senior Pastor. He was 41.
Lead image by Mandel Ngan via Getty.