Deb C.
4 min readJun 18, 2020

June 17 will NEVER be the same again for me…

My first-born son turned 39 today and, given the egregious number of Black men and women who’ll never see another birthday due to the machinations of the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy — I’m glad he was able to.

As I do every year, I woke up this morning and called him to sing “Happy Birthday.” And as has happened every year since June 17, 2015 — I was kicked in the chest by the realization that my annual, joyful-love celebration of his birth, would forever be linked with the painful deaths of the nine people Dylan Roof murdered in my home town at Mother Emanuel. I was there.

Joyful love and immense pain have always coexisted in the lives of Black folk since our unwilling, in-the-boat “immigration” to these alleged, United States of America (Sullivan’s Island is our Ellis Island).

I heard about the murders that June 17 night on the evening news and almost simultaneously, a call to assemble downtown the next day via text, email and social media immediately went out from my friend, the late Black Lives Matter Charleston activist, Muhiyidin D’baha. We all responded. Arriving at the church and met with the yellow, “Police line do not cross” tape designating a crime scene, my heart just broke — so much so, I’ve not been able to write about it until now.

“Memorial grows…(Author’s 6/18/15 photo)
Deb C.

Former Navy Russian linguist, Realtor, Claims Adjuster, OpEd columnist/Features writer at a small, S. Florida newspaper. Since 2007, blogged at “Let’s Be Clear”