A memorial service in Charleston on June 18, 2015. As the church filled to capacity, people gathered outside, sung hymns, and listened to religious leaders talk. • Photo by Nomader
A memorial service in Charleston on June 18, 2015. As the church filled to capacity, people gathered outside, sung hymns, and listened to religious leaders talk. • Photo by Nomader

The following is a joint statement from the Members of Color Caucus of Washington state in response to the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

“The Members of Color Caucus of Washington state express our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims from Wednesday night’s shooting in Charleston, S.C. Our hearts grieve for the families of the Reverend Clementa Pickney, a State Senator in the South Carolina Legislature, and the other eight victims of this senseless tragedy. Although the span of a great nation separates Washington state from South Carolina, we stand indivisible in mourning the loss of these precious lives. We urge all of our communities across Washington state to keep the people of Charleston in your thoughts and prayers.

“We also stand in solidarity against hate crimes. This massacre is a brazen reminder that we must battle more than simply gun violence: we must vigilantly battle racism. Last year, more than 3,400 people were victims of a racially motivated hate crime. We simply cannot close our eyes to the poison of bigotry and racism, whether overt or institutionalized, that persists throughout the United States.

“Tomorrow, our anguish and sorrow about Charleston must reignite America’s commitment to rid our country and our communities of this toxic virus in our society. Today, we join with heavy hearts the millions of Americans who are praying for peace and for healing in Charleston.”

The Washington State Members of Color Caucus

Rep. Mia Gregerson
Rep. Jeff Morris
Rep. Luis Moscoso
Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self
Rep. Eric Pettigrew
Rep. Cindy Ryu
Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos
Rep. Brady Walkinshaw
Sen. Cyrus Habib
Sen. Bob Hasegawa
Sen. Steve Hobbs
Sen. Pramila Jayapal
Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe
Sen. John McCoy

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