Honoring the Charleston Families on Father’s Day–and Beyond

Like you, I’m heartbroken over the Charleston massacre that took place this week. I’ve also had a hard time finding the words to express my feelings. Hardest of all, the answer to the question: “What can we do?”

After all, my sadness is a mere drop compared to the well of grief that must be engulfing the victims’ families in Charleston. I cannot stop thinking about Eliana and Malana Pinckney, the two girls who lost their father, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney. The Rev. Joseph Darby of Beaufort African Methodist Episcopal Church told MSNBC that Mr. Pinckney was a courageous man. “He was a very caring and competent pastor and he was a very brave man,” he said. “And brave men sometimes die very difficult deaths.”

What does one write of a tragedy that is far removed from one’s own world? My friend and fellow blogger Laurie White gave some straight-forward direction on Facebook:

All you really need to do if you have a blog platform and don’t know what to say about Charleston is “I’m heartbroken this happened. Here’s a link to donate to the church.”

She was right. So thank you Laurie and your post over at  Mom2.0Summit. It was the wake-up I needed. I had wondered what to do for Father’s Day. This was it. I gave to the Reverend Pinckney fund, one dedicated to continuing the work of Reverend Pinckney, his church, and their outreach to vulnerable populations and youth.

That work must continue. From all I have read, Mother Emanuel Church was a place that fostered love and a commitment to lifting everyone up. Some of the families of the victims (profiled here) have already expressed forgiveness for the man who murdered their loved ones. Did you know the massacre nearly didn’t happen? According to the Washington Post, after spending an hour at the church, the accused said he “almost didn’t go through with it because they were so nice to him.”

That one hour of kindness almost swayed the murderer and his dark, dark heart. What if he’d had many hours, days, years with that kind of kindness, goodness and love? What a different ending this story might have had.

By honoring and supporting the work of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lance, Rev. Daniel Simmons, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor and Susie Jackson, their families and good people everywhere, we extend their light. May it be shine brightly for those who most need it. And may all the families find solace in knowing we have seen the light within them. It is a powerful, powerful force.

What a daddy you must have had, Eliana and Malana. His work will carry on. We are with you. He is too.


5 thoughts on “Honoring the Charleston Families on Father’s Day–and Beyond

  1. Marico Sayoc says:

    I too am heartbroken this happened and thank you for sharing this small act we can do honor the work of Reverend Pinckney and his church.

    1. Kristin O'Keefe says:

      I hope it helps, if just a bit. It feels like nothing we can say/do is worthy of the victims, their families, their loss and the loss to the community. Heartbreak is the only word.

  2. Irma says:

    Your well written article and donation information has aided me in being able to “do something.” Thank you for your beautiful perspective of love, light and forgiveness.

    1. Kristin O'Keefe says:

      Such kind words, thank you Irma. We lost such extraordinary people. I hope their work–and light–continues. Our country needs it.

  3. mom says:

    What a wonderful idea and what a great gift. Your Father’s Day presents were always thoughtful: the sweater was the right color, the shirt the right size, and all of the rest, but this is something really special.

    What happened in the church tells me we have a long road ahead of us in combatting racism. It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick, but the journey is necessary and I am proud you have planted your footsteps on this trail.
    Thanks agin and love,


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