More

In the wake of tragedy, Charleston mourns as the world reacts.

Nine innocent people lost their lives to senseless violence.

On June 17, 2015, gunfire erupted from inside Charleston, South Carolina's historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Dylann Storm Roof, 21, entered the church around 8 p.m. Once inside, reports say that Roof sat and prayed with the group before he allegedly opened fire, killing nine people.


On Thursday morning, June 18, 2015, Roof was arrested roughly 200 miles away from Charleston, in Shelby, North Carolina.


One of the nine victims was the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, a pastor and state legislator.

Newsweek profiled Pinckney, noting that he recently co-sponsored a bill designed to require police officers to wear body cameras in the wake of the Walter Scott shooting.


A black cloth covered Pinckney's seat in the state Senate.

Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen is calling the shooting a racially-motivated hate crime.

By appearances, it certainly looks as though this was a racially-motivated crime. On Roof's Facebook profile, he's seen wearing a jacket with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia. Those two countries have a deep history of white supremacy.


Commentator Marc Lamont Hill did what most in the media wouldn't: He called this an act of terrorism.

He made the point that had this been carried out by just about anyone other than a white man, the media would have been quick to label this an act of domestic terrorism. Instead, the closest that most outlets will get is to suggest this is a hate crime.


In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security warned that "white supremacist lone wolves" should be taken seriously as a terrorism threat.

The report reads, "[The Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis] has concluded that white supremacist lone wolves pose the most significant domestic terrorist threat because of their low profile and autonomy — separate from any formalized group — which hampers warning efforts."

Then-House Minority Leader John Boehner lashed out at use of the word "terrorist" being used to describe these types of individuals. Instead, he characterized them as "American citizens who disagree with the direction Washington Democrats are taking our nation."


Now Speaker of the House, Boehner offered his condolences for this tragic loss of life.


Groups and individuals on both a national and local level offered a range of reactions.

NAACP issued a statement:

"The NAACP was founded to fight against racial hatred and we are outraged that 106 years later, we are faced today with another mass hate crime. Our heartfelt prayers and soul-deep condolences go out to the families and community of the victims at Charleston's historic Emanuel AME Church. The senselessly slain parishioners were in a church for Wednesday night bible study. There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture. Today, I mourn as an AME minister, as a student and teacher of scripture, as well as a member of the NAACP." — Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President & CEO

A number of people pointed to the life of Demark Vesey, who in 1822, planned a massive slave revolt in Charleston.

Vesey's plot was thwarted, and he was put to death.


Locally, people mourned and prayed in churches and in public.


Perhaps most importantly, the people of Charleston came together in strength and solidarity like they have before.



If you're interested in following along on social media, please check out the following Twitter hashtags:

#CharlestonStrong, #IamAME, #PrayForCharleston, #CharlestonShooting, #AMEShooting, #DemarkVesey, #EmanuelAME, #sctweets

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

Keep Reading Show less

Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

Keep Reading Show less
Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

Keep Reading Show less