Remembering Emanuel 9 and…

Remembering bible study participants at Mother Emanuel EME Church in Charleston, SC, victims of a 2015 mass murder, by a white supremacist.

This past week, three elders were murdered at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, AL. A month earlier, one man was killed and five others injured at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, CA.

These church killings are in addition to the widely reported mass shootings in East Buffalo, NY, and Uvalde, TX, and to SEVENTY OTHER MASS SHOOTINGS between May 14 and June 16. (Mass shooting data at Gun Violence Archive). Many victims have been Asian, Black, and Latine.

No words beyond a request to recall those lost,
all who mourn for them,
and all who continue to organize in their memories,
in your practice this weekend.

Here are some names of those lost,
recently and at this time in years past.

June 17, 2015 — Mother Emanuel

Pastor (and SC Senator) Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, 41
Cynthia Graham Hurd, 54
Susie Jackson, 87
Ethel Lee Lance, 70
Depayne Middleton-Doctor, 49
Tywanza Sanders, 26
Rev. Daniel Simmons, 74
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45
Myra Thompson, 59

June 16, Vestavia Hills, AL — Saint Stephen’s Episcopal

Walter Rainey, 84;
Sarah Yeager, 75
third victim, 84, died at the hospital

For the record: This is not considered a “mass shooting,” as defined by the Gun Violence Archive (four or more injured, exclusive of the alleged perpetrator). A news story from WVTM

May 15, Laguna Woods, CA — Geneva Presbyterian

Dr. John Cheng, Geneva Presbyterian Church.

Five others injured in this Taiwanese church. A news story from

May 14, East Buffalo, NY — TOPS Supermarket

Ruth Whitfield, 86
Pearly Young, 77
Katherine Massey, 72
Deacon Heyward Patterson, 67
Celestine Chaney, 65
Aaron Salter, Jr., 55
Roberta A. Drury, 32
Margus D. Morrison, 52
Andre Mackneil, 53
Geraldine Talley, 62

A news story from Public Broadcasting

May 24, Uvalde, TX — Robb Elementary School

A news story from Texas Tribune

Washington DC shooting deaths

This week:

June 11 — 18-year-old Saige Ballard
June 12 — 34-year-old Alphonzo Jones
June 13 — 17-year-old Xavier Spruill
June 15 — 30-year-old Israel Mattocks
June 15 — 16-year-old Deandre Coleman
June 16 — 42-year-old Dimaris Smith
June 16 — 29 year-old Christian Gabriel Monje (May 30 shooting)

DC shooting yahrzeits this week


  • June 17 — 28-year-old Demonte Thompson
  • June 18 — 42-year-old Everette Faison
  • June 18 — 52-year-old Benson Thorne Sr.


  • June 11 — 32-year-old Kevin Redd
  • June 11 — 18-year-old Saige Ballard
  • June 13 — (Mass shooting: 5 injured, two killed)
    19-year-old Zymia Joyner
    19-year-old Rashard Waldo
  • June 14 — 21-year-old Albert Smith,


  • June 13 — 24-year-old Devin Butler
  • June 14 — 43-year-old Damon Bell
  • June 15 — 37-year-old Richfield Chang
  • June 16 — 30-year-old Arkeem Jackson
  • June 19 — 29-year-old Juan Marcell Grant


  • June 11 — 24-year-old Daymond Chicas
  • June 12 — 24-year-old Syles Kealoha
  • June 12 — 22-year-old Marqueese Alston (police shooting)
  • June 13 — 43-year-old Larry Harrell
  • June 14 — 23-year-old Dontae Mitchell


June 12 — 33-year-old
June 14 — 28-year-old Julius Leroy Foreman
June 16 — 25-year-old Malik Hill


June 14 — 20-year-old Devonte Crawford
June 18 — 40-year-old Stephanie Goodloe


  • June 13 — 44 year-old Donald Franklin Bush
  • June 14 — 26-year old James Brown
  • June 17 — 25-year-old Larry Michael Lockhart
  • June 17 — 28-year-old Antonio Lee Bryant

Fuller listing at “Say This Name

Remembering and Reckoning

“Until That Day: What Are We?”

A first draft, April 17, 2021 of a poem in response to Yehuda Amichai’s “And Who Will Remember the Rememberers?” (associated with Israel’s Memorial Day, 4th of Iyar) — V. Spatz

“Until That Day: What Are We?”

Verses for a Day We Don’t Yet Have,

have yet to acknowledge we need.

Generations of memory-veterans stagger

with weights carried by elders and ancestors

and boulders we watch children try to bear.

The current generation of fresh loss has members

of ripe old age who mourn alongside children

some still in a school team’s bright colors.

Who, beyond the circles of near loss, acknowledge the rememberers?


How does a monument come into being?

A bullet shatters a life and a lamppost sprouts

flowers and stuffed animals, balloons and banners.

A mirror’s adornment or a headlight’s unblinking stare

lead onto a road some call “hope,” but too many know as “dread.”

Vigil upon vigil and protest unending, the battle never recedes,

and tears rarely dry in some communities

while others pause now and then to note the numbers

maybe read the names.

But who, beyond the circles of near loss, acknowledge the remembers?

And where is that national day of reckoning

as yet unimagined?


How would we stand on such a day?

Erect or stooped, in mourning or guilt.

Collective protest of death lost in recognition

of our long participating in a system that kills.


Every joyful birth sends another child into a jumble,

a landscape lush with potential deaths:

“They looked suspicious.” “I thought it was my taser.”

“I feared for my life.” “I gave 12 seconds of thought.”

When, beyond the circles of near loss, will we truly acknowledge

Adam Toledo, James Lionel Johnson, Dominique Williams,

Rakia Boyd, Terrence Sterling, Anthony Louis,

LaQuan McDonald, India Kager, Oscar Grant,

Archie Williams, Gary Hopkins Jr., Alonzo Fiero Smith…

Can we ever truly mourn and still continue to live

in a system that kills this way?

Until we all remember the rememberers

until we all stand in a day of reckoning,

what are we?

Honoring a Teacher: Hadiya Pendleton

Hadiya Z. Pendleton liked Fig Newtons and performed in a drill team that participated in Obama’s 2013 Inaugural parade. She lived in the Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago, not far from where I lived for several years and where friends still live, not far from the Obama family home. She never reached her 16th birthday, which would have been on June 2. She was gunned down on January 29 [2013], in a public park at 45th & Drexel, apparently caught in a gang-related shooting.
Continue reading Honoring a Teacher: Hadiya Pendleton