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Sunday, June 28, 2015

President Obama Eulogy at Clementa Pinckney Funeral Service

President Obama's moving eulogy on Friday for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, also a South Carolina state senator, is a fitting response to those that say we are taking all of this business about bringing down the Confederate flag too far.  Reverend Pinckney, along with eight others, was murdered last week at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by white supremacist Dylann Roof.

This, of course coincided with the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage such that despite the enormous grief that our country has experienced in the wake of these killings to which President Obama gave voice through his impassioned speech and singing of Amazing Grace—has injected great hope and enthusiasm for the future of this country.

What a better way to end the week than with the #LoveWins and #GraceWins campaigns.
Now there's important work for all sectors of our society to do in order to address the prejudice, discrimination, and structural forms of racism—or "institutionalized oppression" that exists in laws, policies, priorities, and practices legally, as well as extra-legally.

For those of us in education, our task is to further the emancipatory potential of our writing, teaching, and research.

-Angela


 #knowtheirnames #GraceWins

 

President Obama Eulogy at Clementa Pinckney Funeral Service


President Obama delivers a eulogy for state Senator Clementa Pinckney, who was one of nine victims in the June 17, 2015, shooting at Emanuel African Methodist...
c-span.org

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: GIVING ALL PRAISE AND HONOR TO GOD. THE BIBLE CALLS US TO HOPE. TO PERSEVERE AND HAVE FAITH IN THINGS NOT SEEN. THEY WERE STILL LIVING BY FAITH WHEN THEY DIED, SCRIPTURE TELLS US. [APPLAUSE] THEY DID NOT RECEIVE THE THINGS PROMISED. THEY ONLY SAW THEM AND WELCOMED THEM FROM A DISTANCE. ADMITTING THAT THEY WERE FOREIGNERS AND STRANGERS ON EARTH. WE ARE HERE TODAY TO REMEMBER A MAN OF GOD WHO LIVED BY FAITH. A MAN WHO BELIEVED IN THINGS NOT SEEN. A MAN WHO BELIEVEED THERE WERE BETTER DAYS AHEAD. OFF IN THE DISTANCE. A MAN OF SERVICE WHO PERSEVERED, KNOWING FULL WELL, HE WOULD NOT RECEIVE ALL THOSE THINGS HE WAS PROMISED BECAUSE HE BELIEVED HIS EFFORTS WOULD DELIVER A BETTER LIFE OF THOSE WHO FOLLOWED. TO JENNIFER, HIS BELOVED WIFE, JULIANA, AND MILANA, HIS BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL DAUGHTERS TO MOTHER EMANUEL FAMILY AND THE PEOPLE OF CHARLESTON, THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH CAROLINA. I CANNOT CLAIM TO HAVE THE GOOD FORTUNE TO KNOW REVEREND PINCKNEY WELL, BUT I DID HAVE THE PLEASURE OF KNOWING HIM. AND MEETING HIM HERE IN SOUTH CAROLINA -- BACK WHEN WE WERE BOTH A LITTLE BIT YOUNG. [LAUGHTER] BACK WHEN I DIDN'T HAVE VISIBLE GRAY HAIR. [LAUGHTER] THE FIRST THING I NOTICED WAS HIS GRACIOUSNESS, HIS SMILE, HIS REASSURING BARITONE, HIS DECEPTIVE SENSE OF HUMOR. ALL QUALITIES THAT HELPED HIM WEAR SO EFFORTLESSLY A BURDEN OF HEAVY EXPECTATIONS. WHEN CLEMENTA PINCKNEY ENTERED A ROOM, IT WAS LIKE THE FUTURE ARRIVED. THAT EVEN FROM A YOUNG AGE, FOLKS KNEW HE WAS SPECIAL. ANOINTED. HE WAS THE PROJECT ANY OF THE LONG LINE OF THE FAITHFUL, A FAMILY OF PREACHERS WHO SPREADS GOD'S WORDS, A FAMILY OF PROTESTORS, WHO SO CHANGED TO EXPAND VOTING RIGHTS AND DESEGREGATE THE SOUTH. CLEMENTA HEARD THEIR INSTRUCTION AND HE DID NOT FORE SAKE THEIR TEACHING. HE WAS IN THE PULPIT BY 13. PASTOR BY 18. PUBLIC SERVANT BY 23. HE DID NOT EXHIBIT ANY OF THE COCKINESS OF YOUTH NOR YOUTH INSECURITIES. INSTEAD, HE SAID -- SET AN EXAMPLE WORTHY OF HIS DISPOSITION, WISE BEYOND HIS YEARS. IN HIS SPEECH, IN HIS CONDUCT, IN HIS LOVE, FAITH, AND PURITY. AS A SENATOR, HE REPRESENTED THE SPRAWLING SWATH OF LOW COUNTRIES, A PLACE THAT HAS LONG BEEN ONE OF THE MOST NEGLECTED IN AMERICA. A PLACE STILL RACKED BY POVERTY AND INADEQUATE SCHOOLS. A PLACE WHERE CHILDREN CAN STILL GO HUNGRY. AND THE SICK CAN GO WITHOUT TREATMENTS. A PLACE THAT NEEDED SOMEBODY LIKE CLEMENTA. [APPLAUSE] HIS POSITION IN THE MINORITY PARTY MEANT THE ODDS OF WINNING MORE RESOURCES FOR HIS SANDWICH -- CONSTITUENT WERE OFTEN LONG. IT'S CALLS FOR GREATER EQUITY WERE TOO OFTEN UNHEEDED. THE VOTES HE CAST WERE SOMETIMES LONELY. BUT HE NEVER GAVE UP. HE STAYED TRUE TO HIS CONVICTIONS. HE WOULD NOT GROW DISCOURAGED. AFTER A FULL DAY AT THE CAPITOL, HE WOULD CLIMB IN HIS CAR AND HEAD TO THE CHURCH TO DRAW SUSTENANCE FROM HIS FAMILY, FROM HIS MINISTRY, FROM THE COMMUNITY THAT LOVED AND NEEDED HIM. THERE, HE WOULD FORTIFY HIS FAITH AND IMAGINE WHAT MIGHT BE. REVEREND PINCKNEY EMBODIED A POLITICS THAT WAS NEITHER MEAN NOR SMALL. HE CONDUCTED HIMSELF QUIETLY AND KINDLY AND DIGITALLY. -- DILIGENTLY. HE ENCOURAGED PROGRESS NOT BY PUSHING HIS IDEAS ALONG, BUT BY SEEKING OUT YOUR IDEAS. PARTNERING WITH YOU, TO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. HE WAS FULL OF EMPATHY AND FELLOW FEELING. ABLE TO WALK IN SOMEBODY ELSE'S SHOES AND SEE THROUGH THEIR EYES. NO WONDER ONE OF THE SENATE COLLEAGUES REMEMBER SENATOR PINCKNEY AS THE MOST GENTLE OF THE 46 OF US. THE BEST OF THE 46 OF US. CLEM WAS OFTEN ASKED WHY HE CHOSE TO BE A PASTOR AND A PUBLIC SERVANT. BUT THE PERSON WHO ASKED PROBABLY DIDN'T KNOW THE HISTORY OF A.M.E. CHURCH. [APPLAUSE] AS OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE A.M.E. CHURCH KNOW, WE DON'T MAKE THOSE DISTINCTIONS. OUR CALLING, CLEM ONCE SAID IS NOT JUST WITHIN THE WALLS OF THE CONGREGATION, BUT THE LIFE AND COMMUNITY IN WHICH OUR CONGREGATION RESIDES. [APPLAUSE] HE EMBODIED THE IDEA THAT OUR CHRISTIAN FAITH DEMANDS DEEDS, AND NOT JUST WORDS. THAT THE SWEET HOUR OF PRAYER ACTUALLY LASTS THE WHOLE WEEK LONG. THAT TO PUT OUR FAITH IN ACTION IS MORE THAN JUST INDIVIDUAL SALVATION. IT'S ABOUT OUR COLLECTIVE SALVATION. AND TO FEED THE HUNGER AND CLOTHE THE NAKED AND HOUSE THE HOMELESS IS NOT JUST A CALL FOR ISOLATED CHARITY, BUT THE IMPERATIVE OF A JUST SOCIETY. WHAT A GOOD MAN. SOMETIMES I THINK THAT'S THE BEST THING TO HOPE FOR WHEN YOU'RE JEWEL EYESED. -- JEWEL JIESED. -- EULOGIZED. AFTER ALL, THE WORDS AND RECITATIONS AND RESUMES ARE READ , TO JUST SAY SOMEBODY WAS A GOOD MAN. [APPLAUSE] YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE OF HIGH STATION TO BE A GOOD MAN. PREACHER BY 13. PASTOR BY 18. PUBLIC SERVANT BY 23. WHAT A LIFE CLEMENTA PINCKNEY LIVED. WHAT AN EXAMPLE HE SET. WHAT A MODEL FOR HIS FAITH. AND THEN TO LOSE HIM AT 41, SLAIN IN HIS SANCTUARY WITH EIGHT WONDERFUL MEMBERS OF HIS FLOCK. EACH OF DIFFERENT STAGES OF LIFE BUT BOUND TOGETHER BY A COMMON COMMITMENT TO GOD. CYNTHIA HURD, SUZY JACKSON, DEPAYNE MIDDLETON, SANDERS, DANIEL L. SIMMONS, SHARONDA COLEMAN SINGLETON AND MYRA THOMPSON. GOOD PEOPLE. DECENT PEOPLE. GOD-FEARING PEOPLE. [APPLAUSE] PEOPLE SO FULL OF LOVE AND SO FULL OF KINDNESS, PEOPLE WHO RAN THE RACE, PERSEVERED. PEOPLE OF GREAT FAITH. TO THE FAMILIES OF THE FALLEN, THE NATION SHARES IN YOUR GRIEF. OUR PAIN CUTS THAT MUCH DEEPER BECAUSE IT HAPPENED IN A CHURCH. THE CHURCH IS AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN THE CENTER OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIFE. [APPLAUSE] A PLACE TO CALL OUR OWN IN A TOO OFTEN HOSTILE WORLD. A SANCTUARY FROM SO MANY HARDSHIPS. OVER THE COURSE OF CENTURIES, BLACK CHURCHES SERVED AS HIGH SHOPPERS WERE SLAVES COULD WORSHIP IN SAFETY. PRAISE HOUSES WHERE THEY COULD GATHER AND SHOUT "HALLELUJAH." [LAUGHTER] REST STOPS FOR THE WEARY ALONG THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. BUNKERS FOR THE FOOT SOLDIERS OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. THEY HAVE BEEN AND CONTINUE TO BE IN THE COMMUNITY WHERE WE ORGANIZE FOR JOBS AND JUSTICE, PLACES OF SCHOLARSHIP AND NETWORK, PLACES WHERE CHILDREN ARE LOVED AND SAID AND -- AND FED AND KEPT OUT OF HARM'S AND TOLD THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL AND SMART AND TAUGHT THAT THEY MATTER. [APPLAUSE] THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS IN CHURCH. THAT IS WHAT THE BLACK CHURCH MEANS. OUR BEATING HEART. THE PLACE WHERE OUR DIGNITY AS A PEOPLE AND THERE IS NO BETTER EXAMPLE OF THIS TRADITION THEN MOTHER EMMANUEL. [APPLAUSE] A CHURCH BUILT BY BLACKS SEEKING LIBERTY, BURNED TO THE GROUND BECAUSE ITS FOUNDERS THOUGHT TO END SLAVERY ONLY TO RISE UP AGAIN, A PHOENIX FROM THESE ASHES. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: WHEN THERE WERE LAWS BANNING BLACK CHURCH GATHERINGS, SERVICES HAPPENED ANYWAY IN DEFIANCE OF UNJUST LAWS. WHEN THERE WAS A RIGHTEOUS MOVEMENT TO DISMANTLE JIM CROW, DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. PREACHED IN HIS PULPIT. MARCHES BEGAN FROM ITS STEPS. A SACRED PLACE, THIS CHURCH. NOT JUST FOR BLACKS, NOT JUST FOR CHRISTIANS, BUT FOR EVERY AMERICAN WHO CARES ABOUT THE STEADY EXPANSION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMAN DIGNITY IN THIS COUNTRY COME A FOUNDATION'S OWN FOR LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL. [APPLAUSE] THAT IS WHAT THE CHURCH MEANT. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: WE DO NOT KNOW WHETHER THE KILLER OF REVEREND PICKNEY AND EIGHT OTHERS NEW ALL OF THIS HISTORY -- KNEW ALL OF THIS HISTORY. BUT HE SURELY SENDS THE MEANING -- SENSED THE MEANING OF HIS VIOLENT ACT. IT WAS AN ACT THAT DREW ON A LONG HISTORY OF BOMBS, ARSON, SHOTS FIRED AT CHURCHES. NOT RANDOM, BUT AS A MEANS OF CONTROL. A WAY TO TERRORIZE AND A PRESS. -- OPPRESS. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: AN ACT THAT HE IMAGINED WOULD INCITE FEAR AND RECRIMINATION, VIOLENCE, SUSPICION. AN ACT THAT HE PRESUMED WOULD DEEPEN DIVISIONS THAT PRICE BACK TO OUR NATION'S ORIGINAL SIN. OH, BUT GOD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: GOD HAS DIFFERENT IDEAS. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: HE DIDN'T KNOW HE WAS BEING USED BY GOD. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: BLINDED BY HATRED, THE ALLEGED KILLER COULD NOT SEE THE GRACE SURROUNDING REVEREND PICKNEY AND THAT BIBLE STUDY GROUP. THE LIGHT OF LOVE THAT SHOWN AS THEY OPENED THE CHURCH DOORS AND INVITED A STRANGER TO JOIN IN THEIR PRAYER CIRCLE. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: THE ALLEGED KILLER COULD NEVER HAVE ANTICIPATED THE WAY THE FAMILIES OF THE FALLEN WOULD RESPOND WHEN THEY SAW HIM IN COURT IN THE MIDST OF UNSPEAKABLE GRIEF WITH WORDS OF FORGIVENESS. HE COULD NOT IMAGINE THAT. [LAUGHTER] [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: HE CANNOT IMAGINE HOW THE CITY OF TRUST AND UNDER THE GOOD AND WISE LEADERSHIP OF THE MAYOR, HAVE THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, HOW THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WOULD RESPOND NOT MERELY WITH REPULSION AT HIS PEOPLE ACT, BUT WITH GENEROSITY AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, WITH A THOUGHTFUL INTROSPECTION AND SELF-EXAMINATION THAT WE SO RARELY SEE IN PUBLIC LIFE. BLINDED BY HATRED COME HE FAILED TO COMPREHEND WHAT REVEREND PICKNEY SO WELL UNDERSTOOD. THE POWER OF GOD'S GRACE. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: THIS WHOLE WEEK, I HAVE BEEN REFLECTING ON THE IDEA OF GRACE. [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: THE GRACE OF THE FAMILIES WHO LOST LOVED ONES, THE GRACE THAT REVEREND PICKNEY WOULD PREACH ABOUT IN HIS SERMONS, THE GRACE DESCRIBED IN ONE OF MY FAVORITE HYMNALS, THE ONE WE ALL KNOW. "AMAZING GRACE." "HOW SWEET THE SOUND THAT SAVED A WRETCH LIKE ME." I ONCE WAS LOST, BUT NOW I AM FOUND, WAS BLIND BUT NOW I SEE. [APPLAUSE] (music) PRESIDENT OBAMA: ACCORDING TO THE CHRISTIAN TRADITIONS, GRACE IS NOT EARNED -- [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: GRACE IS NOT MERITED, SOMETHING WE DESERVE. RATHER, GRACES THE FREE -- GRACE IS THE FREE AND BENEVOLENT FAVOR OF GOD. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: AS MANIFESTED IN THE SALVATION OF SINNERS AND THE PISTOLE -- BESTOWAL OF BLESSINGS. GRACE IS A NATION OUT OF THIS TERRIBLE TRAGEDY. GOD HAS VISITED GRACE UPON US. FOR HE HAS ALLOWED US TO SEE WHERE WE HAVE BEEN BLIND. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: HE HAS GIVEN US THE CHANCE WHERE WE HAVE BEEN LOST TO FIND OUR BEST SELVES. WE MAY NOT HAVE EARNED IT, THIS GRACE, WITH OUR COMPLACENCY AND SHORTSIGHTEDNESS AND FEAR OF EACH OTHER. BUT WE GOT IT ALL THE SAME. HE GAVE IT TO US ANYWAY. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: HE HAS ONCE MORE GIVEN US GRACE. BUT IT IS UP TO US NOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF IT. TO RECEIVE IT WITH GRATITUDE AND PROOF -- PROVE OURSELVES WORTHY OF THIS GIFT. FOR TOO LONG, WE WERE BLIND TO THE PAIN THE CONFEDERATE FLAG STIRRED INTO MANY OF OUR CITIZENS. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: IT IS TRUE, A FLAG DID NOT CAUSE THESE MURDERS. BUT AS PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE, REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS NOW I'D KNOWLEDGE, INCLUDING GOVERNOR HALEY WHOSE RECENT ELOQUENCE ON THE SUBJECT IS WORTHY OF PRAISE. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: AS WE ALL HAVE TO HAVE KNOWLEDGE THE FLAG IS ALWAYS REPRESENTED MORE THAN JUST ANCESTRAL PRIDE. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] (music) PRESIDENT OBAMA: FOR MANY, BLACKS AND WHITES, THAT FLAG WAS A REMINDER OF SYSTEMIC OPPRESSION. AND RACIAL SUBJUGATION. WE SEE THAT NOW. REMOVING THE FLAG FROM THIS STATE'S CAPITAL WAS NOT BE AN ACT OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, NOT AN INSULT TO THE VALOR OF CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS. IT WOULD SIMPLY BE ENDED KNOWLEDGE MEANT THAT THE CAUSE FOR WHICH THEY FOUGHT -- THE CAUSE OF SLAVERY -- WAS WRONG. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: THE IMPOSITION OF JIM CROW AFTER THE CIVIL WAR, THE RESISTANCE TO CIVIL RIGHTS FOR ALL PEOPLE WAS WRONG./ IT WOULD BE ONE STEP IN AN HONEST ACCOUNTING OF AMERICA'S HISTORY. A MODEST BUT MEANINGFUL FOR SO MANY UNHEALED WINDS. IT WOULD BE THE EXPRESSION OF THE AMAZING CHANGES THAT HAVE TRANSFORMED THIS STATE AND COUNTRY FOR THE BETTER. BECAUSE OF THE WORK OF SO MANY PEOPLE OF GOODWILL, PEOPLE OF ALL RACES A STRIVING TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION. BY TAKING DOWN THAT FLAG, WE EXPRESS ADDS GRACE -- GOD'S GRACE. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: I DON'T THINK GOD WANTS US TO STOP THERE. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: FOR TOO LONG, WE HAVE BEEN BLIND TO BE WAY PAST INJUSTICES CONTINUE TO SHAKE THE PRESENT. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: PERHAPS WE SEE THAT NOW. PERHAPS THIS TRAGEDY CAUSES US TO ASK SOME TOUGH QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW WE CAN PERMIT SO MANY OF OUR CHILDREN TO LANGUISH IN POVERTY OR ATTEND DILAPIDATED SCHOOLS OR GROW UP WITHOUT PROSPECTS FOR A JOB OR CAREERS. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: PERHAPS IT CAUSES US TO EXAMINE WHAT WE ARE DOING TO CAUSE SOME OF OUR CHILDREN TO HATE. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: PERHAPS IT SOFTENS HEARTS TOWARDS THOSE LOST YOUNG MEN, TENS AND THOUSANDS CAUGHT UP IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND LEAD ESTIMATES ARE THAT SYSTEM IS NOT INFECTED WITH BIAS. AND WE EMBRACE CHANGES IN HOW WE TRAIN AND EQUIP OUR POLICE SO THAT THE BONDS OF TRUST BETWEEN LAW ENFORCEMENT AND THE COMMUNITY THEY SERVE MAKES US ALL SAFER AND MORE SECURE. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: MAYBE WE NOW REALIZE THE WAY A RACIAL BIAS CAN INFECT US EVEN WHEN WE DON'T REALIZE IT. SO THAT WE ARE GUARDING AGAINST NOT JUST RACIAL SLURS BUT ALSO GOING AGAINST THE SADDLE IMPULSE -- SUBTLE IMPULSE TO CALL JOHNNY BACK FOR A JOB INTERVIEW BUT NOT JAMAL. [APPLAUSE] [CHEERING] PRESIDENT OBAMA: SO THAT WE SEARCH OUR HEARTS WHEN WE CONSIDER LAWS TO MAKE IT HARDER FOR SOME OF OUR FELLOW CITIZENS TO VOTE. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: I WRECK IT -- BY RECOGNIZING OUR COMMON HUMANITY, BY TREATING EVERY CHILD AS IMPORTANT REGARDLESS OF THE COLOR OF THEIR SKIN OR THE STATION INTO WHICH THEY WERE BORN OR TO DO WHAT IS NECESSARY TO MAKE OPPORTUNITY REAL FOR EVERY AMERICAN. BY DOING THAT, WE EXPRESS GOD'S GRACE. [APPLAUSE] [CHEERING] PRESIDENT OBAMA: FOR TOO LONG -- [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: FOR TOO LONG, WE HAVE BEEN BLIND TO THE UNIQUE MAYHEM THAT GUN VIOLENCE AFFLICTS UPON THIS NATION. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: SPORADICALLY, OUR EYES ARE OPEN. WHEN IT OF OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS ARE CUT DOWN IN A CHURCH BASEMENT, 12 IN A MOVIE THEATER, 26 AND AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL -- I N AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. BUT I HOPE WE ALSO SEE THE 30 PRECIOUS LIVES CUT SHORT BY GUN VIOLENCE IN THIS COUNTRY EVERY SINGLE DAY. THE COUNTLESS MORE HIS LIFE ARE FOREVER CHANGED, THE SURVIVORS CRIPPLED, THE CHILDREN TRAUMATIZED AND FEARFUL AS THEY WALKED TO SCHOOL. THE HUSBAND WHO WILL NEVER FEEL HIS WIFE'S WARM TOUCH. THE ENTIRE COMMUNITIES WHOSE GRIEF OVERFLOWS EVERY TIME THEY HAVE TO WATCH WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM HAPPEN TO SOME OTHER PLACE. THE VAST MAJORITY OF AMERICANS, THE MAJORITY OF GUN OWNERS WANT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: WE SEE THAT NOW. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: AND I AM CONVINCED BY KNOWLEDGE THE PAIN AND LOSS OF OTHERS EVEN AS WE RESPECT THE TRADITIONS AND WAYS OF LIFE THAT MAKE UP THIS BELOVED COUNTRY, BY MAKING THE MORAL CHOICE TO CHANGE, WE EXPRESS GOD'S GRACE. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: WE DON'T EARN GRACE. WE ARE ALL SINNERS. WE DON'T DESERVE IT. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: BUT GOD GIVES IT TO US ANYWAY AND WE CHOOSE HOW TO RECEIVE IT. IT IS OUR DECISION HOW TO HONOR IT. NONE OF US CAN OR SHOULD EXPECT A TRANSFORMATION IN RACE RELATIONS OVERNIGHT. EVERY TIME SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS, SOMEONE SAYS WE HAVE TO HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT RACE. WE TALK A LOT ABOUT RACE. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: THERE IS NO SHORTCUT. WE DON'T NEED MORE TALK. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: NONE OF US SHOULD BELIEVE THAT A HANDFUL OF GUN SAFETY MEASURES WILL PREVENT EVERY TRAGEDY. IT WILL NOT. PEOPLE OF GOODWILL WILL CONTINUE TO DEBATE THE MERITS OF VARIOUS POLICIES AS OUR DEMOCRACY REQUIRES. THERE ARE GOOD PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES OF THESE DEBATES. WHATEVER SOLUTIONS WE FIND WILL NECESSARILY BE INCOMPLETE. BUT IT WOULD BE A BETRAYAL OF EVERYTHING REVEREND PICKNEY STOOD FOR, I BELIEVE, IF WE ALLOW OURSELVES TO SLIP INTO A COMFORTABLE SILENCE AGAIN. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: ONCE THE EULOGIES HAVE BEEN DELIVERED, THE TV CAMERAS MOVE ON, TO GO BACK TO BUSINESS AS USUAL. THAT IS WHAT WE SO OFTEN DO. TO AVOID UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS ABOUT THE PREJUDICE THAT STILL INFECTS OUR SOCIETY. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: TO SETTLE FOR SYMBOLIC GESTURES WITHOUT FOLLOWING UP WITH THE HARD WORK OF MORE LASTING CHANGE. THAT IS HOW WE LOSE OUR WAY AGAIN. IT WOULD BE A REPUTATION OF THE FORGIVENESS EXPRESSED BY THOSE FAMILIES IF WE MERELY SLIPPED INTO OLD HABITS WHEREBY THOSE WHO DISAGREE WITH US ARE NOT MERELY WRONG BUT BAD. WHERE WE SHOUT INSTEAD OF LISTEN. WHERE WE BARRICADE OURSELVES BEHIND PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS OR WELL PRACTICED CYNICISM. REVEREND PICKNEY ONCE SAID "ACROSS THE SOUTH, WE HAVE A DEEP APPRECIATION OF HISTORY. WE HAVE NOT ALWAYS HAD A DEEP APPRECIATION OF EACH OTHER'S HISTORY." [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: WHAT IS TRUE IN THE SOUTH IS TRUE FOR AMERICA. HE UNDERSTOOD THAT JUSTICE GROWS OUT OF RECOGNITION. OF OURSELVES AND EACH OTHER. -- IN EACH OTHER. MY LIBERTY DEPENDS ON YOU BEING FREE TOO. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: THAT HISTORY CANNOT BE A SWORD TO JUSTIFY INJUSTICE OR A SHIELD AGAINST PROGRESS. IT MUST BE A MANUAL TOOL AVOID HOW TO REPEAT THE MISTAKES OF THE PAST, HOW TO BREAK THE CYCLE. A ROADWAY FOR A BETTER WORLD. HE KNEW THAT THE PATH OF GRACE INVOLVES AN OPEN MIND. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, AN OPEN HEART. THAT IS WHAT I FELT THIS WEEK. AN OPEN HEART. THAT, MORE THAN ANY PARTICULAR POLICY OR ANALYSIS IS WHAT IS CALLED UPON RIGHT NOW, I THINK. WHAT A FRIEND OF MINE, THE WRITER MARILYN ROBINSON, CALLS THAT RESERVOIR OF GOODNESS BEYOND END OF ANOTHER KIND THAT WE ARE ABLE TO DO EACH OTHER IN THE ORDINARY CAUSE OF THINGS. THAT RESERVOIR OF GOODNESS. IF WE CAN FIND THAT GRACE, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. [APPLAUSE] PRESIDENT OBAMA: IF WE CONTACTED THAT GRACE -- CAN TAP THAT GRACE, EVERYTHING CAN CHANGE. AMAZING GRACE. AMAZING GRACE. (music) AMAZING GRACE HOW SWEET THE SOUND

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