Highlights from the Charleston Experience Panel at the Charleston Forum on June 16, 2017.
Deputy Chief Naomi Broughton, City of Charleston
Reverend Joe Darby
Jennifer Pinckney, Wife of the late Reverend Clementa Pinckney
Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Mayor of Charleston (1975-2016)
Reverend Sharon Risher, Daughter of Ethel Lee Lance
Moderator: Bo Moore, The Citadel, Dean of the School of Humanities
Sharon Risher: “I am still wrestling with forgiveness. When I heard the first act of forgiveness I screamed. I hadn’t had a chance to even process what had happened to my mother, my two cousins and my childhood friends. My brains was not at a point where I was ready to forgive. I still struggle with forgiveness today.”
Reverend Joe Darby: “I think we have talked very much about peace and forgiveness, I think it still remains to be seen two years after the fact whether we’re in a long, protracted, feel-good kumbaya moment. Schools in Charleston County are still filed with racial disparities—both in equipment, suspensions and academics. There’s a brain drain of young black people who get their college degrees and don’t come back to Charleston because they can’t find jobs in Charleston.
Jennifer Pinckney: “Since the flag has come down more people riding around with confederate bumper stickers and flags flying behind their cars and so forth. I still think we still have a far way to go. I see Issues in schools. Where kids being called out by their name and kids are being bullied. We’re not where we should be. And it’s said that it took this tragedy for the flag to come down. It’s sad that it took this tragedy for the positive things that have happened in South Carolina to happen. A lot of us, we have a tendency to talk about the problem and that’s all what we want to do.”
Joseph P. Riley: “The community’s response the church, the families, the community’s response and the communal collective heartbreak that moved Charleston and this community and I believe our state in a more positive direction. Not straight up, but in terms of racial progress and understanding. But we have to sustain it and there’s lots of work to do.”