He walked into the church
With evil on his mind.
They welcomed him with open arms.
They were nothing but kind.
They accepted him as if
He were one of their own.
He sat with them for an hour,
His true intentions unknown.
They thought he was there for Bible study.
They didn’t know his real reason.
They weren’t aware of his hatred.
They didn’t know he had a gun.
He said he had to kill them,
But his reasons made no sense.
That night the people of Charleston
Learned that monsters do exist.
He almost didn’t do it
Because they were so nice to him,
But he was on a mission,
So instead he started shooting.
He stole the lives of nine people,
Six women and three men.
These good people were killed in cold blood
Because of the color of their skin.
Senator Clementa Pinckney was a reverend.
Daniel L. Simmons was too.
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton was a coach
At Goose Creek High School.
One family lost three that night:
Susie Jackson, Tywanza Sanders, and Ethel Lance.
Tywanza was a recent college graduate
Who died trying to protect his aunt.
Ethel was a custodian at Mother Emanuel
And known for being joyful.
Susie was the family matriarch;
Eighty-seven years old and loving to all.
Depayne Middleton-Doctor was a minister
And admissions coordinator at a college.
Cynthia Hurd was a dedicated librarian
Who loved helping people and spreading knowledge.
Leading Bible study was Myra Thompson,
A former teacher beloved by her students.
Felicia Sanders and her granddaughter
Survived by playing dead.
Polly Sheppard’s life was spared
So she could tell the world what happened,
And now the Holy City mourns
And tries to understand.
These nine souls left behind
So many people who love them.
A hateful killer will spend his life
Paying for his sins.
He wanted to start a race war,
But he came to the wrong city to do it.
In Charleston, we don’t react with violence.
In Charleston, hope and love will win.
By Crystal Smith-Connelly