LOS ANGELES (June 18, 2015) — On Wednesday, June 17, 2015, a gunman opened fire and killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic Black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Among those killed was South Carolina State Senator Celementa C. Pinckney, who was also the senior pastor at the church. While details are still rapidly emerging, the case is being investigated as a racially-motivated hate crime by the Federal Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the district of South Carolina.
Stewart Kwoh, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA), issues the following statement:
“Advancing Justice – LA expresses sadness and outrage at the tragic mass murder in Charleston, and strongly condemns the targeting and taking of African American lives. We condemn this as an act of domestic terrorism against the African American community and we support the law enforcement investigations into these attacks as racially-motivated hate crimes. Advancing Justice – LA also extends our deepest condolences to all the individuals, families, and communities impacted by this tragedy.”
A city-wide prayer vigil will be held this evening, Thursday, June 18, 2015, at 8 p.m. by the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles. We encourage all Los Angelenos to participate to show support and solidarity for the victims of the Charleston shooting.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles is the nation’s largest Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) legal and civil rights organization and serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. Founded in 1983 as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Advancing Justice – LA’s mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.
Through direct legal services, impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, leadership development and capacity building, Advancing Justice – LA seeks to serve the most vulnerable members of the AANHPI community while also building a strong AANHPI voice for civil rights and social justice.