Each of them had a name.
Rev. Clementa Pinckney
Ethel Lee Lance
Daniel L. Simmons
Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor
These are the names of those murdered in prayer at "Mother" Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
They were parents and children, spouses and friends.
They were teachers and students. People of faith. Leaders of their community.
They believed in peace. They believed in justice.
Each of them lived lives of holiness.
Not perfection, holiness.
The press will spend many hours and much ink talking about the person who killed them. They will share his name. They already have, along with his Apartheid flags and hateful gaze.
His name does not deserve to be repeated. And if justice is served, then he should spend the rest of his life in a small box, contemplating the names of the people he murdered, the people he prayed with for an hour, the people who tried to talk him into peace, rather than violence.
Let us remember their names, their stories. And let us contemplate how they could have been killed in cold blood for the color of their skin, how their church could become a place of violence. For if we forget their names, then it will happen again, and we will have failed their memory.
Remember their names.