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Still grieving the massacre of nine African American congregants by a white supremacist at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2015, we watch almost in disbelief as predominantly Black southern churches burn and many people continue to defend a flag that has come to symbolize racism.
Since the time of slavery through the Civil Rights Movement up to today, those motivated by racial prejudice and hate have attacked Black churches, hoping to destroy the community’s ability to worship as well as assemble, educate, organize, and fight for justice. Yet the Black church lives on; the faith and spirit of the people endure.
As leaders of faith communities in the City and County of San Francisco, we stand in solidarity with and pray for Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, and particularly the victims’ families. We pray for our African American sisters and brothers whose sacred worship places have been desecrated by racial hatred, and call upon civic officials to enforce the law and swiftly bring to justice the perpetrators of these shameful terrorist acts. We pray for the repentance of those who commit racially motivated acts of violence.
We applaud those states, municipalities, organizations and individuals who have rejected and removed the confederate flag, and we call upon those who persist in defending that icon of racism to follow suit. Collectively, we pray for peace and, in our lifetimes, to greet that promised day when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream of freedom and equality for all will be realized in this great land of ours.
G.L. Hodge, Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
Rev. James DeLange, Lutheran Pastor and Past Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
Rita R. Semel, Past Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
Michael G. Pappas, Executive Director, San Francisco Interfaith Council
Right Reverend Marc Handley Andrus, Episcopal Bishop of California
Fatih Ferdi Ates, Director, Pacifica Institute – SF & East Bay
Rev. Dr. John A. Buehrens, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Society of SF
Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco
Maha Elgenaidi, Chief Executive Officer, Islamic Networks Group (ING)
Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., President, University of San Francisco
Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Iftekhar Hai, President, United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance
Rev. Calvin Jones, Jr., Senior Pastor, Providence Baptist Church
Rabbi Doug Kahn, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council
Rev. Ronald Kobata, Resident Minister, Buddhist Church of San Francisco
Rev. Dr. James McCray, Jr., Executive Director, Tabernacle Community Development Corp.
Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto, Pastor, Glide Memorial Church
Rabbi Lawrence Raphael, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Sherith Israel
Rabbi Beth Singer, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El
Rev. John Weems, Pastor, Calvary Presbyterian Church
For additional information, please contact Michael G. Pappas at (415) 425-9631.