These are the names of the beloved who were murdered August 26 because of the color of their skin:
Angela Michelle Carr, 52, a mother and grandmother
A.J. Laguerre, 19, a store employee working to support his grandmother
Jerrald Gallion, 29, devoted father on his way to spend time with his young daughter
They are the latest in a long line of victims of senseless gun violence in this country, victims of yet another incident that shows we are not safe in our schools, in stores, in movie theaters or places of worship.
The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas strongly denounce last week’s racially-motivated shootings in Jacksonville, Florida, in which these innocent people were targeted by a man who made it clear he hated Black people. In this moment of profound sadness and loss we are especially horrified that this latest atrocity was committed on the day when members of the Mercy Community joined tens of thousands gathered on the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom to remember and recommit to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream of a better America. That dream has been shattered once again. And it could have been worse, since the shooter first tried to enter a historically Black college.
We offer our deepest sympathies and prayers for the families and victims of the shooting and to the community whose lives have been forever shaken by this horrible act. And we urgently and relentlessly add our voices to those saying it has been too long and our gun laws must change.
It should not be lost that this heinous act was committed in Florida, a state that has changed its laws to make it much easier to buy and carry guns, where 2,989 people die by guns and 5,267 people are wounded and gun violence costs $40.3 billion each year.
This same state has implemented policies designed to disenfranchise persons of color and erase the true horrors of slavery, creating a culture that continues the systemic racism that legitimizes violent racist behavior.
The Sisters of Mercy stand and act in solidarity with the Black community and all oppressed people. We say once again that non-violence is not passive. Anti-racism is not passive. Justice is not passive. Just and immediate action is needed to end this cycle of misery. We urge our leaders to put human lives above political expediency. Authorities must enforce existing gun laws and legislators must enact sensible regulations to restrict access to deadly weapons, and to protect the rights of all people no matter their race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.