This city was built on faith. You will find no buildings taller than the church steeples. The skyline is dominated by churches and so is this community.
We will not be defined by this senseless act but by our beautiful community’s reaction. There is sadness and anger and there are many, many questions. We will heal and, given a lot of time and support, too will the families of the victims. But those families should not be forced to heal, because these senseless tragedies should not happen. Their loved ones were at a bible study on a Wednesday night at 9:00pm. If that isn’t a safe place for people, I’m not sure of the world in which we live. It is unfair for those innocent people to have lost their lives by a cowardice monster trying to make a point; to divide. I am thankful that poor excuse for a human being was found quickly, with no incident, and will be brought to justice.
One of the 9 victims was an acquaintance and colleague of mine, Sharonda Singleton. Although I did not know her well, I saw her yearly for the past 5 years a handful of times each year. She often provided much needed comic relief, at just the right time, with her wit and perfectly worded questions and comments. Sharonda always kept it real while never losing sight of the ultimate goal, advocating for children. I’m pretty sure she made all 40ish of us smile each and every meeting. Such a larger than life, warm presence; she will be missed by so many.
Sharonda’s children have been speaking out at prayer vigils and such and are a testament to the person that she was…what amazing children raised by a clearly amazing mother.