SC Senate Remembers Sen. Clementa Pinckney

Sen. Clementa Pinckney's state Senate desk Thursday.

On a day they thought they would be focusing on the state’s budget, South Carolina senators instead contemplated the state’s loss. Nine people were shot and killed Wednesday night at a church in Charleston, one of them Sen. Clementa Pinckney, who was also the pastor of Mother Emanuel AME Church.
Senators quietly filed into the Senate chamber Thursday morning, Sen. Pinckney’s desk covered in a black mourning drape with a single red rose on it. After gathering together for a group prayer, one by one they came to the microphone to talk about what he had meant to them and to the state.
“I really don’t know that I have the ability today to talk,” said Sen. Nikki Setzler, D-West Columbia, his voice cracking. “What stood out more about Senator Pinckney than his big frame and his booming voice was that astronomically large heart that he had and the love that he had for his fellow man.”
Sen. Vincent Sheheen, who sat right next to Pinckney, also got choked up while speaking and had to wipe away tears at one point. “He had a core to him that not many of us have,” he said. “Think of the irony that the most gentle of all 46 of us in this chamber, the best of all 46 of us in this chamber, is the one who lost his life.”
They had watched a video of Sen. Pinckney’s last time giving a speech on the Senate floor, an impassioned plea on April 14 in favor of a bill to require all police to wear body cameras.
“Tall, big in stature, but had the heart, the biggest heart you could ever imagine,” said Sen. Kent Williams, D-Marion. “He had a passion for people. He loved people. He loved helping people, and especially those who were amongst the least of us. That was the life of Senator Pinckney.”
Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Hartsville, who was very close to Pinckney, said he never saw Pinckney angry or do anything that didn’t fit his character as a man of God.
“I always thought that Clementa would preach my funeral,” he said, with tears in his eyes. “There are eight other families that are suffering out there as well, and Clementa would want us to think about them.” The Senate adjourned for the day in memory of all nine victims.
Malloy said he hopes some good can come from the tragedy. “I think that Clementa would want us to know that his sacrifice should lead to reconciliation with all of us,” he said.

Comments are closed.