A Response to the South Carolina Shooting

By Andy Christian Castillo

10679983_351752195015797_4341923261461402654_oI’m feeling sick: literally, I feel like I’m going to throw up – thinking about the tremendous hate, that drove a young man to walk into an elegant white church, sit down and converse with a group of loving people during a Bible study, calmly pull out a handgun, and shoot them like animals.

At 9 p.m. Dylan Roof stood up, declared that he was “here to kill black people;” and massacred 9 innocent people in cold hate.  One man asked him to stop – he shot him in response.  He left one woman alive so that she could tell others what happened.

Where is God?  Where is His mercy and His justice?  What happened to “Land of the free and home of the brave?”

An Outcry

11154806_351752138349136_3597317990405013302_oWake the f*** up America.  Our greatest threat isn’t in the Middle East: it’s our own people.  It’s the deep-rooted and heinous beliefs that we still possess – of the superiority of one skin color over another; it’s the apathetic passivity of the majority – and the denial of despicable social issues, by citizens who can look the other way, and pretend they don’t exist.

But they do.  They do exist; no matter how many times we deny it.  They exist like a plague within our blood.  Open up your eyes to reality.  The monster reared it’s ugly head and left 9 innocent victims rotting in a pool of fresh blood spilled by fellow church members.  They were murdered during a Bible study, in a place of worship.  Open up your eyes.

I’m angry – that’s too weak of a word: I am livid; at the injustice and unfair practices that routinely occur in our society.  I will not swallow this heavy pill with a cool glass of water and move on with my life; I will not take this news sitting down.

A Front-row Seat

11182670_351752141682469_7577529873323060665_oWe had a front row seat to witness the birth of our own creation – we created this beast with our indifference.  It’s time to wake up.  

And STOP.

Stop pretending that racism doesn’t exist.  Stop believing that it isn’t an issue.  Stop saying that the riots in Baltimore were meaningless.  Stop saying “I’m not a racist.”  Stop arguing and acknowledge that it’s a racist system.  Stop passing the buck onto the next inactive bystander.

Stop denying your role in the issue.  Stop living with your head in the clouds, and come down from your ivory tower; come down and witness the daily oppression of your fellow citizens.

10838024_351752158349134_6963255246238381506_oIt’s people like you and I that influence change.  Laws are enacted with the support of the people.  We are the people; and we have failed.  

But we can change – we can change our mentality; we can become active bystanders to the injustice within our borders; we can educate ourselves on social issues and events; we can recognize our faults; we can speak out and decry injustice; we can make this heaven-blessed Nation a better place.

A place that actually practices what it preaches.

In the words of the great abolitionist reformer William Lloyd Garrison:

“I will be as harsh as truth, and uncompromising as justice… I am in earnest, I will not equivocate, I will not excuse, I will not retreat a single inch, and I will be heard.”

Cynthia Hurd, 54

Tywanza Sanders, 26

Sharonda Singleton, 45

Myra Thompson, 59

Ethel Lance, 70

Susie Jackson, 87

the Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74

DePayne Doctor, 49

May God rest their souls in sweet solace of heavenly peace; incomprehensible by the human mind.


Andy Christian CastilloAndy Christian Castillo is the Founder of Ver・ism(s).  He is a military veteran and student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, pursuing a degree in English.  In his free time, he plays music, writes poetry, gallivants around the world, climbs mountains and runs through the pouring rain.

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