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Joint | June 18, 2015 | Press Room | Press Conference: Legislative Black Caucus

Full MP3 Audio File

We want to thank the person being here on a quick turn around I know we're all busy with the budget and other legislation, but we just thought it was that we came and have a statement about the tragedy in South Carolina. Number one, is good to know that there are solace to that up to date is that there is no sorrow on earth that heaven can not heal, we need to know that and many of us get a part the black coat and others and when we leave here on Thursday we go back to a congregation that we have to pastor and take care of spiritual needs of those folks in our community and that said on the floor today, it is really saddens me what happened last night when we awoke this morning to hear the tragic news in South Carolina members gathered together for bible study and a time of reflection and prayers doing mid week service to come to the point that there was one who came to city in midist of them, and sat there for some period of time no doubt hearing the word of God the scriptures read, that even at that time there was still something troubling his mind that would cause him to take the lives of so many people. Then we were saddened further to find out that one of those persons was Senator Macgram's[SP] sister. I believe you remember Macgram[SP] from Shallote, North Carolina, who served in this great body, and the other gentleman Mr. Peggy, the minister also a state legislator, down in the great state of South Carolina. When I think about this bit of clergy myself, the impact that it must have on those members who have to frequent that place of worship for years yet to come, that they would get, that day will still be fresh in their minds as they continue to worship, and the young people, is a time when we're trying to get young people in church, and involved in religion, that this is a little bit what happened, it reminds us, that we just have to share it a time in Birmingham, when four young girls who were worshiping, that this same time incident happened. So, here today to paint a picture about race into those things, but we're here as clergy [xx] as clergy persons, and we're here to show our support for the churches of Carolina. In this nation in which we live that this are troubling times with people who have motives that are not in keeping with the worshiper's fears, the people experience on Sunday morning. So, we just want to send a charge out to people, to be vigilant, to be concerned, as we go forward, it's just a say a day, and as we sit on the floor today we pray for the families, and we pray for the shooter that has been apprehended here in North Carolina, that going forward is my further clergy and [xx] speech, that we do have a genuine concern, I think we need to be on guard at all times, and this sends us a chilling message to all of us, all of you most your people who worship in some synagogue or church, this is sad when you can't go there in peace knowing that you're going to be safe and you will not experience situations like this. So at this time we're going to ask Senator Paul Lowe, who is a minister in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a very fine church that he's been ministering for long time, to share his concerns. Senator Paul Lowe. Thank you. Senator Paul Lowe, 32nd District Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I was saddened to hear this news that not only a fellow clergy person was killed, but also that he served in the General Assembly of South Carolina. And I think it's a tragic thing when things like these happen, and having served in a local church for many many, over 20 years now and still serving in the Shiloh Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, it's kind of an eerie feeling to think that while you are there serving, teaching Bible Study or something of this nature, someone would show up and just begin shooting. So certainly my prayer are with the family, and all the families that were dealing with tragedy from the shooting. My heart go out to them because I was heart broken when I heard, and its kind of a scary thing to think that you are not even safe in a church. Certainly this isn't the first time this something has happened in a church but we would like to think that in America, we have grown beyond men. So we certainly want to continue in prayer for those who are hurting and dealing with grief right now. Senator [**], who is also clergy person and would like to share? Good after noon senator Erica Smith, [**], senatorial district three,

[**] comp humpart, Martin North Hampton Terry in Washington counties. I am praying along with the Americans who hold dear in their heart a passion for faith we are praying for the pastor's family who was mudered as well as the eight other provisioners of manual African Methodist Episcopal Church. It is a historical church and what I am reminding of is the history of what we have been placed with America. The challenge for us today is to come together as we have so many times before and lift up that community as they move forward and deal with this very difficult time. It's also incoming upon us as legislators, as those who cover the news, as those of us who are very involved in these events and the effect that they have on the community. The decisions that we make here and there was a decision that was made in the house last night and I want to challenge us as we deal with these measures and policies about our gun laws and who can have access to a gun. It's my understanding from the reports that the shooter did receive his gun from his dad.  But we have to be very careful that in the policies that we passed, the legislation that we passed, that we make sure we are supporting the lives of all people and and forming the right to have life, I challenge us in this difficult in this sad moment to think about decisions here in Rolly, and that we move forward to make sure things like this don't just happen, again finally I ask that you continue to join us in prayer as this to be very difficult days of the Shalick and choose the South Carolina community moving forward and we certainly pray for senator Brown and his family in their loss. Certainly it is a tragic occasion in other random senseless act of violence just takes the lives of innocent people under the circumstances that truly were avoidable I think we need to reflect not only upon the minister who was the legislator who had the men on clarification and upon the loss of senator Graham's sister I I reached out to Senator Graham this morning after I remembered the media indicated to me that they thought his sister might have been one of the victims. He called back and while I was in the line with him Coroner Office called to confirm that his sister had been lost. Senator Graham was somebody who I deeply admired and respects, served with for eight years but it's like the loss of a member of our own family. Suddenly nobody should be, nobody should go to church on an evening for prayer meeting and become a victim random act of violence that takes away their lives. We do need to think carefully about of all the policies, all the legislation, all those things that we do as legislators that create an environment that makes it more conducive to this random acts of violence occurring, increasing into day, week after week, month after month, there is another senseless act of violence where its just a matter of the number of people that are taken out at one time. We cannot become a society that's immune to these incidences. We cannot become a society that accepts them as common. We cannot become a society that pretty much says, violence should be the norm. As legislatures we need to be proactive we need to look at this bills carefully. They should be scrutinized, but more importantly we should establish a reasonable limitations and boundaries that do not add to the pheriperations[SP] of fire arms and enhance the chances of this opportunities occurring. I know I was a victim of a senseless act of violence years ago myself. I survived that incidence, but nevertheless it comes close to home, when those people that I know, and I love, and that I respect, lose someone close to them. It shouldn't take each and everyone of us losing a person that we know before we do something. The time has come, The time is now, the time is upon us to seize that opportunity and do something constructive to reduce the chance of these types of atrocities happening again and to save the lives of innocent people. I'm Senator Gladys Robinson representing Guilford County, District 28. I'm not a clergy but certainly have been a part of one of the oldest African-American churches in Greensboro for a

very long time over 40 years, but I too I'm very saddened at the occurrences that happened and Senator Graham was my seat mate for my terms here and we are certainly in prayer with him and I tweeted him and his family this morning, but we also think about why people do what they do, and I think it points out the mental health issues as well in our communities. And what we as legislators are doing to make sure that resources are available to first diagnose what what's going on, so many things are going on especially with the young people, and older people. But also they have resources available, and we've looked at the ALME, MCO's and all of those and are those resources adequate in our communities. And of course he was in South Carolina, and I can't talk about that but it does make us think in terms of how do we better address the needs of people. This obviously may have been racial in his mind but there was a mental illness or something else going on as well too And so I don't think it's indicative of what's going on in that community, but just what's going on with the individuals and it could happen anywhere and that's a scary part. I also agree with Senator Ingro. We have to be careful about the laws we make, I know people are concern about guns in the general assembly. I don't want to see a shoot-them-up general assembly. I know folks are concern about safety, and we have to do protective things surveillance is here but we know that we serve the public as well too, so any of us as public officials at any time could be at risk and so that's where my prayer comes in and my faith comes in, but we're certainly appreciative of Senator Pinkney, I had met him as well at a national black caucus meeting, and his commitment to the community and to his church and so we're so in prayer for all of them, thank you. Thank all you for sharing and I think we want to just send out a message that we just pray that people going forth, people of faith will continue to worship as Billy[sp?] has said, this is not the first time this type incidents have disturb the places where we worship, they beat this in the past, we pray that they would not be in future but their are some sick people out here that just have some minds to do some things that's just beyond our imagination so we want to just encourage particular our young people I just keep going to that point because you don't want to do anything that will discourage people from worshiping, this is just a sad attack on worship as we know it, so we just going forward, we ask the press to help us, we don't want to make a hero out of anybody who does anything, so we want to just spin it the way it should be spinned. This today, this press conference is about faith and what we need to do as a country and as a state to continue to pray for this losses, South Carolina and pray, and then we have a bit many sugars in North Carolina, we don't want to forget about our state, but any valence anywhere, is this too much? So, we just wanted to just keep that in prayer. We want to thank you all for coming, is there any questions, but we just, yes Sir. You talked about joining masses in this half. Does this make any view especially the preachers think that there should be more security at your churches, and even at the general assembly here? I mean people can walk in all the time. I know that there has been some conversations, well you asked me first question, I know that my church is been back and forth about getting cameras that the church. We have very old historic church 137 years, we don't have cameras, but I think the leadership of magistrate when I leave here today, will need to realise that this is something because the camera in this incident was the fact that really grabbed a whole of who the person was, so I think all church going what Paul the lest of you this is something we need and it sad one point I want to make that you get a lock your church is doing worship service at a certain point at that worship experience you need to have your ashes or many churches [xx] many places have armed guards walking the church ground doing church services I think of you search around I know pools from saviour he knows probably about some churches, but some of them actually have people that walks the church grounds and that a say commentary we have to get to that point that you have to have armed guards walking your Church grounds during worship service. What about the tunnel or subway? I think that I've even had the conversation about metal detectors I don't know if that's going to be a reality. I would hate the people's house would get to that point but seeing what we saw last night I've heard people talk, let me give you if you just think about it if a person came here with some type of explosive device before you could do anything and they throw it or whatever they do a lot of, so its risky its just dangerous and the people have no regard.

When people lose regard for the Church, there's no telling what they might do Senator Lowe. So thats my point, its just sad that we're at that place. And I might simply add that we want to keep the doors to the general assembly open, we want to make certain that people can come here freely and exercise their right to speak their mind and their opinions to access the legislature but the time is also come we might want to consider to enhance our security that would not unduly restrict upon the access of citizens to come here and to express their rights, their thoughts, their opinions and to see what's going on. OK. In terms of our houses of faith we are taking the this opportunity to encourage our local pastors in our communities to do an inventory of your security measures. Do you have trained security people there for every service whether its Bible study, Sunday morning worship, are there people who accompany the trustees with the tithes and offerings to a safe place and to a safe that's in the church where the money is deposited. We do know that the Lord will protect, but the Bible also tells us that to guard for these are times that are evil and so we have to make sure we're being good stewards and protecting our people even in the worship hour. Yes Ma'am. You mentioned, you said a little while ago and we'll get back to the quote. Sorry OK. That you feel like this is an attack on faith. Yes, of course I do...coming to a church surely it's not lost on you that he came into the AME church Yes I know you don't to make this about race No maam The mayor of Charlestown has already made this about Okay this is more an attack on faith, what do you think? I think that this is a terrible tragedy, and tragedies of this kind we certainly don't want to give credence to the fact that yes, it was a historical African-American church where this tragedy took place, but more simply, it was a house of worship, and there have been other houses of worship in this country where tragedies have taken place, so we don't want to highlight that fact, but we do want to highlight the fact that it was a place of worship. And in places of worship you just don't look for these kinds of things to happen. And I might simply add simply this. There have been hate crimes committed in this country over the years going back decades, going back centuries. Whether this is a hate crime or not is yet to be determined. I think the [xx] was excellent in the pity in what happened, I thought the Heathrow police did an excellent job this morning in terms of saying this person will be apprehended and what he had done we got this [xx] words that he used for a practical purposes was dated as well. When it comes to this hate crimes even this indeed is a hate crime, this young man should be vigorously prosecuted and held culpable for his conduct hate crime is something that we can accept, that we can tolerate whether is based upon race religion, sexual orientation, hate crimes of wrong despicable. We can tolerate it them in society as a nation. Whether this is a hate crime or not, is yet to be determined but it is pretty disturbing that the person, even if the press accounts are correct, came in to this church of worship, and spent close to an hour there before he his senseless rampage. I saw many people who were victims of murder and violence during the civil rights era. I for one, find that reprehensible, something that we cannot tolerate and something that we need to and must change. Question. What's your policy? Question. Well, I guess I was just wondering, if you have emphasized so much about the deceased [xx], and I'm surprised by your actions to discuss anywhere near it in the future length about racial aspect, that I'm sure is of

concern to many people in addition to confirm about it taking place in a church. It's hard for me to determine meet personally just reading the reports that it was about race. Was it, race was it motivated because of race? I have no idea, but I go back to the point that it wasn't a place of worship, it is just said that it was a Caucasian gentleman who was the assassinator of the people there and they just happened to be black. It's hard. Days yet we would find out was that the case, but as a clergy person, number one, it stubborns me because I am a minister with a congregation and that's the saddest part about it is we've always set a place that we go to worship, a place where little children are, people worshiping, you just can't imagine that something like this was happenned in these days and times so I think that was my argument and that's why I'm just going to stay on it. I don't want to put the race piece in it because first of all, it was about where they were and what happened, and they just happened to be the participants in this shooting. Time will determine that going forward I don't want dare do that. Is just said enough what we're dealing with without adding Americans needs to come together we have to be very careful we keep putting the flames of racism in it, as a clergy I don't want to do that because lives have been loss so I want to just look at it for what it is this time and those things will play out as time go forward. Thank you for that question. We want to thank [xx] I'm not a clergy, but I wanted to comment on another aspect as your news report someone has said that this young man received a gun from his father at 21. And I think beyond the raise issue is what a parent teaching and what don't per-see or what don't you pick from your children, and the community and what are you teaching them? If it did happen a [xx] [xx] what was he being taught? What was his environment? And why was he given a gun and did parents there was something else going on with them. So I think the larger issue is responsibility, a parent in terms of the same thing happened with the young man, who shot all those children. Making guns accessible to young people, when you see there's some issues going on. So there's a larger issue in terms of responsibility of parents of society in terms of, have I taught him to shoot, and now it's time to give him a gun. And that should not be the way that we have a society. And I think that is what is going on with all this gun legislation, that is an American right to have a gun and you pass them all out and it becomes a shoot them up territory and I don't know what motivated this young man, but it has to be something in his environment. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.