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Illinois creates Emanuel AME Day of Remembrance

trotter-emanuelameSPRINGFIELD – This week the Illinois State Senate honored S.C. Senator Clementa Pinckney and the other victims of the Charleston church massacre with a day of remembrance on June 17. State Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago), sponsor of the day of remembrance legislation, Senate Resolution 680, gave the following floor speech:

“Condolences to the victims of the horrific massacre in South Carolina -- killings that rattled all sensibilities of reasonable people. There are no rational reasons for the act. There is no singular cause. Mental health issues, lack of education, poverty, cultural misinterpretations, misguided influences and hopelessness are all parts of a long menu of systemic causes that manifested into hatred and fatal aggression toward other human beings.

The attacks for me were personal, not solely because I’m black, not because a colleague was killed, a fraternity brother, a friend. But, he was also a victim. But Senator Clementa Pinckney, like all of us, was a human being. Like us, he committed his life in the quest of making this life a better place for all through his ministry and his advocating as a public service.

Like us he had the power to change policy, to change minds --one person at a time, if need be, and collectively through the passage of laws. He practiced honorably. He earned the title of the Honorable State Senator Reverend Clementa Pinckney.

However, all the individuals who were killed that Thursday will be remembered for their faith in God and their belief in a better mankind. We can honor them best and celebrate their lives, as fellow policymakers, by ensuring that mental health programs exist and are viable. We can ensure that our education system teaches compassion and gives life lessons in the context of what is right and what is wrong.

We can make a difference in the quality of life for all people. We have the power in this chamber, in this building, and within ourselves to set the tone for a better world.

Let’s honor all who have died with a renewed purpose and conviction to make everyone partner in prosperity and enlightenment.

It was in the 17th century that John Donne wrote, ‘Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind. Therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.’

And I would like a moment of silence.”

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