June 18, 2015


SACRAMENTO, CA – California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) mourns today with the people of Charleston, South Carolina over the senseless murder of the nine (9) members of the Emmanuel African American Episcopal, who were tragically shot down during prayer service. 

“As a Caucus, it is hard for us to fathom that such violence can occur in a place of worship such as Mother Emanuel, which is more than a church to the African American community. It is a place of worship that was founded by African Americans seeking liberty and stands as a symbol of nonviolence today because of the long line of leaders, such as Martin Luther King, Jr, who spoke and led peaceful marches from its very steps,” states Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus.

“The Caucus is also deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, South Carolina State Senator and Pastor of Mother Emanuel, Senator Clementa Pickney, who was the youngest African American in South Carolina’s history to be elected to the Legislature at the age of twenty-three (23). Our deepest prayers and condolences go out to his wife Jennifer and two (2) children Elian and Malan.

This tragedy brings back to memory the Birmingham church bombing of 1963, which prompted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. then to describe it as “One of the most vicious and tragic crimes perpetuated against humanity;” words which can aptly be applied to this tragedy.

Our prayers and thoughts are with the families of those who were tragically killed and with the people of Charleston, may you rise out of this tragedy stronger as a community.