Just over a month after the brutal mass shooting at Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Church which ended the lives of nine people, the family and friends of church pastor Reverend Clementa Pinckney have begun a new way for you to help support the work that he started in that community. On Thursday, Pinckney's widow, Jennifer, issued a statement announcing the creation of a new foundation to honor the Reverend's legacy. In a poignant tribute, the family decided to launch the foundation on what would have been the his 42nd birthday.
According to its website, the mission of the Honorable Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney Foundation is to improve quality of life for citizens of South Carolina, and to champion the causes that Pinckney supported while he was head of the church. The noted pastor and community leader leaves a significant legacy for the charity to uphold. Pinckney was head of one of the nation's oldest, most historic black churches, and a leading advocate for police accountability in Charleston and across the state following the shooting of Walter Scott.
Want to donate to the foundation? It's easy. Head to the homepage, www.senatorpinckney.org, where a "donate" button will greet you. The button takes you to a PayPal page, where you can input any amount you want, and it also includes the option to make it a monthly recurring donation. Your money will go to support "religious, educational, and charitable causes."
At Pinckney's funeral last month, President Barack Obama delivered a stirring tribute to the pastor, calling him "a man of God who lived by faith [...] and a man of service." The president went on to praise Pinckney's commitment to the church and to improving Charleston communities.
Friends of his remarked this week that when Clementa Pinckney entered a room, it was like the future arrived; that even from a young age, folks knew he was special. Anointed. He was the progeny of a long line of the faithful — a family of preachers who spread God’s word, a family of protesters who sowed change to expand voting rights and desegregate the South. Clem heard their instruction, and he did not forsake their teaching
In his eulogy, President Obama interwove the reverend's legacy and life's work with the need to end gun violence and address systemic oppression. It's thought to be one of the most moving speeches Obama has ever delivered. Here's the full video.
Reverend Pinckney was killed on June 17 in a mass slaying at the historic Emanuel AME Church, just after an evening prayer service. Authorities believe that the suspect in that attack, Dylan Roof, was planning to start a race war when he allegedly opened fire in the church.
Along with Pinckney, Roof is accused of killing Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lance, Myra Thompson, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Daniel Simmons, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, and DePayne Middleton Doctor. Roof was caught within a day of the attacks in Shelby, North Carolina. He now faces nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder for the killings. The charges could mean a death sentence for Roof, whose trial is slated to begin July 11, 2016.
Images: Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney Foundation (1); Getty Images (1)