From the Desk of Joe E. Benton, Immediate Past President of NABSW
Friday, June 26, 2015
From the Desk of Joe E. Benton, Immediate Past President of
Please forgive my tardiness in response to the murder of two
of my long time friends, Senator and Reverend Clementa Pinckney and Reverend
Daniel Simmons. I worked and
shared time with both men, Clementa, in my role as lobbyist of our General
Assembly and even more closely when I was Special Assistant to the AME Bishop
and Clementa was the youngest Elder in the 7th. Episcopal District of the AME Church.
Dan, I have known since he dated my wife’s college roommate
and one of her best friends, my son and his children were playmates, his home
is a block away. I was there when
Reverend Middleton became ordained, her grandfather is a long time associate
and friend and Ms. Hurd and I were on many committees together, in the
Charleston area. I have been
reflecting on my friends and family who tragically died violently by the hands
of deranged strangers and recall the helpless feeling of grief and sorrow.
As I prepare myself to attend the public viewing of Clementa
Pinckney, at the statehouse in South Carolina, I encourage each of you to pray for our family, friends and
loved ones who senselessly died violently in Charleston’s Mother Emmanuel
African Methodist Episcopal Church and will continue to die throughout this
country daily, unless we take a firm stance against racists and racism. We need
to remain ever vigilant in the cause of making "Black lives matter” as part of
respect for us as human beings.
I will continually fight toward that end, as long as there
is breath and a prayer within me.
Joe E. Benton