By: Michael Brown, CEO and Co-Founder 

My colleagues in service,

The violence in South Carolina is truly heartbreaking.  On behalf of the City Year community, my heart goes out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives so tragically. We unite in solidarity -- against racism, hatred and violence and for love, harmony and community -- with the congregation of Emanuel AME Church, with the Charleston community, and with the people of South Carolina.

The damage that one evil act committed by one person can do in our society is devastating. This was an act of violence against African Americans and an African American house of worship, in a nation with too long a history of racism, discrimination and racial violence against African Americans.

The fact that this terrible act of violence was racially motivated, and took place in a church, in fact in one of the oldest and largest African American congregations in the South, is deeply disturbing. It demands outrage and a soul-searching look at what takes place in our society that could possibly lead to such horrendous violence, a massacre of precious human beings and an attack on the human spirit.

It is a brutal reminder that every day we need to stand up to hate in America, and increase our love for one another. 

Every day in America -- and sadly more so today -- African American men, woman and children are rightly wondering if their very lives are at risk just by virtue of their being African Americans. This is unacceptable in our nation and every one of us as Americans must confront it and unite to change it.

If we’re going to counter the hate that too often rips our world apart, we are going to have to personally and collectively commit to dramatically increasing our love for one another and our commitment to each other. We must not allow the tremendous weight of this violence to crush our spirits, but rather steel our resolve to end the destructive blight of racism and gun violence, and inspire us to continue to act together to build a better world.

We must reject violence and hate, and do everything possible to promote peace and loving kindness. 

In solidarity,


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