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Grieving Woman IDs Our Murderers: We Must 'Disarm Hate'

Grieving Woman IDs Our Murderers: We Must 'Disarm Hate'


Nearly one year after the horrific mass shooting at a South Carolina church that took her mother, two cousins and six others, Rev. Sharon Risher joined gun control advocates on Capitol Hill.

Think back to a year ago, and the news was dominated by another unbelievable hate crime.

"It's hard to believe that tomorrow will be one year," remembered Rev. Sharon Risher today in a news conference alongside U.S. senators in Washington. It will be one year "since I received the devastating news that my mother and two of my cousins were among nine people who had been shot and killed while praying at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a man so filled with hate, armed with a gun."

Fisher's speech came with all the passion you'd expect from a reverend in a pulpit, and not from behind a podium in the Capitol.

She recalled the moment on Sunday when first hearing news of the mass shooting in Orlando, the worst in the country's history, that left 49 people dead.

"I turned off the TV," she said. "I did not participate in social media, because my heart could not take hearing about that, knowing that families were getting ready to feel the same kind of pain that all of the people in Charleston, and especially the nine families, were feeling. I was overcome with sadness and anger."

Despite the differences of the black parishioners in Charleston with the LGBT, Latino club-goers in Orlando, it would indeed be the same kind of pain. Fisher, an ER trauma chaplain, is haunted by the knowledge her loved ones were killed in a racially-motivated hate crime.

"I struggle to answer why," she said, her voice rising, "why my loved ones and so many other people have been killed. Along with so many Americans I was baffled with how the shooter was able to get his hands on a gun and how we lived in country with so much hatred. Racism, sexism, misogyny, nationalist, homophobia and religious intolerance are all things that we have sadly experienced over and over in this country. But hate becomes deadly the when we make it far too easy for those intent on causing harm to get their hands on a gun. And that is why I'm here today, to disarm hate."

Behind the weapon in a mass shooting is always someone with hate in their heart, of differing kinds. Richer is a member of the Everytown Survivor Network, which was founded a year before the Charleston shooting in reaction to the Newtown shooting. Twenty children died in that one.

Listen to the reverend's speech in the video above, and turn it up loud so everyone will hear it.

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