June 18, 2015
Niagara Foundation vehemently condemns the brutal actions of Dylan Roof, arrested this morning for killing nine people during a Bible study on June 17. The shooting took place at approximately 9 p.m. at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. Among the nine victims was the church pastor Clementa Pickney, who also served as state senator and a community leader.
Police believe the shooting to be racially motivated: according to witnesses, the shooter stated that he was there “to shoot black people” (CNN). Roof also displayed pictures on Facebook wearing a jacket with flags from the former white supremacist governments of South Africa and Rhodesia (New York Times).
We at Niagara Foundation do not condone the shooting or its motives. Racism opposes Niagara’s mission of fostering relationships across all faiths and cultures. We also believe that peaceful dialogue, not violence, is necessary for understanding and healing, and that the shooting perpetrated last night only created more suffering.
Niagara Foundation applauds the swift actions of the police in apprehending the suspect. In addition, we pray for healing and comfort for all those affected, and stand with Charleston in the wake of this tragedy.