Press Release from the event that took place April 26, 2015
Charleston, SC- The YWCA Greater Charleston presents Requiem on Racism: The Peoples Mass to End Hate and Bigotry, a church and musical service, to be held on 4:30 p.m., Sunday, April 26, at Mother Emanuel AME Church, 110 Calhoun Street. Top civic and clergy leaders, and performing artists will participate in the event, which is free and open to the public. For more information visit ywca-charlestonsc.org or call the YWCA at 843-722-1644.
The local event is part of the YWCA USA’s Stand Against Racism campaign that began in 2007 and annually attracts some 300,000 persons to nationwide events held April 22-26. YWCA Greater Charleston is the first YWCA affiliate statewide to announce an event in coordination with this year’s national effort.
According to Garcia Williams, interim executive director of the YWCA Greater Charleston, turnout on April 26 will be driven by “deep concerns about persistent allegations of race and gender-based discrimination reported nearly everyday in news and social media”.
Some observers trace the continuing trend of clashes between opposing groups over social justice issues to the killings of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012 in Sanford, Florida, and Michael Brown on August 9, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Williams believes more recent local events such as the killing of Walter Scott on April 4 in North Charleston show a widening of the conflict.
“The historic delay of Loretta Lynch’s confirmation as US Attorney General; racist chants on a bus-trip of University of Oklahoma fraternity students; and the LGBT, business, sports and civil rights communities’ stand against ‘religious freedom’ legislation in Indiana and Arkansas are just a few issues urgent to our April 26th event,” said Williams.
State Senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney of Mother Emanuel AME Church will preside at the service which also features appearances by United States Congressman James Clyburn, State Representative David Mack III, Rabbi Stephanie Alexander of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, and historian Dr. Millicent Brown. Performing artists will include singer Ann Caldwell, and the College of Charleston Concert Choir.
“Clearly one event cannot reverse centuries of race, gender and ethnic biases, but it can be a powerful demonstration of how solidly the Lowcountry stands committed to social justice,” said Kerri Forrest, YWCA Greater Charleston’s board chair. “When everyday citizens are talking about Selma and Starbucks in the same breath, there’s more at stake than mere media hype. We maybe facing a more serious societal crisis,” said Forrest, who formerly worked as a television news producer for MSNBC, NBC and CBS.
Individuals and community groups may sign the Stand Against Racism pledge: Click Here