I hadn’t focused, until Bud Ferillo reminded me the other day, that the Joe Riley era in Charleston is about to end: There’s a mayoral election this year, and he’s not running.
Which means he’s now available to run for governor!
No, alas — I fear he’s actually retiring from politics.
Anyway, I thought I’d share this release from someone running to take his place:
The tragedies of this past month will forever be in our memories. Our hearts are with the families of the nine worshippers whose lives were taken in a premeditated rage. In spite of this horrific crime of hate, love has overcome these horrible moments, and, once again, the Charleston community has shown the world how a God-loving community can and should act under the most awful circumstances.
The families of the victims, choosing to forgive rather than condemn, demonstrated the very essence of Christianity. The way in which they, Mayor Riley, Chief Mullins, Governor Haley, and the African Methodist Episcopal leadership have dealt with the tragic loss of their loved ones, have given us all reasons to be proud of them and thankful of the role that they are playing in helping our community, state, and country heal. So, for now, let us continue to keep the main focus on:
- Our fellow citizens who have lost their lives while rendering service to God;
- Their families, friends, and the citizens of Charleston who are still trying to deal with the horror of their tragic deaths; and
- Initiatives that unite us rather than divide us.
While the healing process has begun, we are also reminded that unless actions are taken to eradicate the attitudes, beliefs, and practices that allow hate to fester in our community, we may have a repeat of such senseless acts of hate. As Charlestonians, we cannot allow the continued racism embedded in the ways we treat people; we cannot return to polite, benign neglect and avoidance of the sometimes difficult actions necessary for true change.
Instead, as Charlestonians, we need to abandon the processes that isolate people from equal access to the things that allow them to actualize their fullest potential. Specifically, we need to seize this incredible display of unity as an opportunity to begin discussing ways to:
- Create an economy that provides opportunities for all of our citizens;
- Ensure that every child receives a first class education;
- Strengthen the ties that bind our neighborhoods;
- Provide affordable housing within the various neighborhoods so that families have an opportunity to live together in peace and harmony;
- Redefine gentrification to be inclusive of all people of diverse economic and racial backgrounds; and
- Remove, by way of inclusive and respectful dialogue, the Confederate Flag from the Statehouse grounds to really show solidarity as a state.
As Charlestonians, let us not lose the momentum of “oneness.” Let us commit to treating all people with mutual respect, a sense of fair play, and equal access to all people. Let us show the now and next generations that diversity and inclusion are strengths… not weaknesses. Let us remember the words of James Weldon Johnson in the Negro Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”:
“… Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us; facing the rising sun of our new day begun, let us march on till victory is won.“
Let us instead focus on actions, which will influence the future quality of life for all citizens of our beloved city. How will you spend the next several months? What will you do to move forward the equity issues of economics, shared power, and inclusion in planning the future? To avoid such discussions may imply that we lack faith and confidence in one another as Charlestonians.
Get Involved! Join Our Team Today (Click to visit website).
Thank you and God bless!
Maurice WashingtonCandidate for Mayor