Last night in Greenleyville, South Carolina, Mt. Zion AME was burning. This same church was burned to the ground by two KKK members in 1995. Between 1995 and 1996, over 70 Black churches were set on fire.
Last night it was in Greenleyville, but in the days since the massacre at Mother Emanuel in Charleston, there have been at least 6 other Black churches on fire. Investigators seem to have only classified a few as arson, but it's hard to ignore the pattern that's emerging and assume the timing of these are all coincidence, right?
College Hills Seventh Day Adventist: Knoxville, TN
God's Power Church of Christ: Macon, GA
Briar Creek Baptist Church: Charlotte, NC
Glover Grove Baptist Church: Warrenville, SC
Greater Miracle Temple: Tallahassee, FL (not ruled as arson)
Fruitland Presbyterian Church: Gibson County, TN (lightning strike?)
We don't know WHO is burning Black churches, but in at least a few cases, it's apparent WHAT is, and at this point it's unsettling and indicative of an intensified #AttackOnBlackLife. I feel like I'm living the history I read about in history books, watched in documentaries, and heard about from grandparents and other elders. It is not just in the past, it is NOW, a tenet of our reality emboldened and reinvigorated to pummel us in the face daily.
We can't breathe.
We can't go to the store for candy.
We can't play "our" music.
We can't wear our hair as it is and work.
We can't walk.
We can't drive.
We can't LOOK at a cop.
We can't run for our lives.
We can't have a stroke while driving and need assistance or be blind, walking down the street to our bus stop.
We can't call for help when a loved one needs mental health services & transport to safety.
We can't walk down stairwells.
We can't march or demonstrate peacefully.
Our kids can't play in parks or swim in pools.
Our kids can't just be at school.
We can't defend ourselves verbally or physically or assert our rights to humanity and dignity.
We can't worship.
We can't just E X I S T. Anywhere.
Who is burning Black churches? Why is there still, in 2015, an attack on Black life? This physical, social, psychological, and spiritual warfare against Blackness and our livelihood must end. It must. We will not stop fighting until it does.
As hopeless as this feels, today I'm taking action, believing that doing this one deed contributes to that fight. I'll be donating to the "Rebuild the Churches" fund. You can learn more about it here and contribute online here. You can also continue to help Mother Emanuel and the families of those who lost loved ones by finding resources here. Hashtags worth reading through on Twitter: #AttackOnBlackLife #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches #CharlestonSyllabus