BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - In the late 1990’s, Senator Doug Jones, then a U.S. attorney for North Alabama, successfully prosecuted two men identified by the FBI as having a part in the deadly attack on the 16th Street Baptist Church. Today, he believes that hate lives on.
“I believe the political landscape is driving people into their corners and there’s a lot of hateful rhetoric. I think people are using divisions of race and religion to divide people, to whip people into a frenzy on their base and that’s on the right and the left and that’s unfortunate. We need to be one America,” says Senator Doug Jones.
Reverend Eric S.C. Manning, Pastor of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina—the same that was fired upon June 17, 2015.
“Nine members who were just having Bible study, just minding their own business, welcoming in a visitor because that’s what we do in the house of the Lord. We welcome them in, as he came in to sit through the entire Bible study hour, they close, they bow their head for prayer and all of a sudden in that fellowship hall erupted sounds of gunfire,” says Rev. Manning.
Manning says people have withdrawn into themselves instead of reaching out.
“But through the process of time we’ve stopped talking to one another and now we talk at each other as opposed to getting to know our neighbor and loving our neighbor,” says Pastor Manning.
City Council member Lashunda Scales says our failing comes when we allow acts of violence to be an everyday occurrence.
“Change the way we do what we’re doing so that when we engage folk who commit murders like what’s happened in Charleston, you cannot allow it just to be a story, it has to be a story that propels us to action,” Lashunda Scales.
Racism and hatred still exist, but Manning says the key, and what is remembered, is what you do in the midst of the rubble.
“The negative is there, the pain is there. But in that light we must also remember the promise that God has given unto us and the fact that, and the fact that He is still very much in control,” says Manning.