Clergy Against Racism RVA


The members of Clergy & Citizens Against Racism (CCAR) are sickened by the recent hate-motivated murders that took place in Jacksonville, Florida, on August 26, 2023. Once again, families have been left to mourn the loss of loved ones who were murdered by a white supremacist filled with hate.

Three African Americans were murdered at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville’s sheriff, T.K. Waters, said the racially motivated murders were the result of “a disgusting ideology of hate.” The same ideology of hate that was responsible for the killing of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; 23 people of mostly Latino descent at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas; 10 African Americans at a Tops Friendly Markets supermarket in Buffalo, New York; and a young Black gay man in Brooklyn, New York.

If the above list provokes an emotional catharsis within you, it should—for it represent lives lost simply because of race, faith, sexual orientation, or gender identification. These hate-motivated murders are becoming all-too-common occurrences that leave our country numb—to the horrors of the events themselves and to the reality that the evils motivated by hate will likely manifest again.

Contrary to white supremacist calls to “Make America Great Again,” America is already a great nation that is too diverse to continue tolerating the hatred that is being perpetrated against its communities that are home to people of color, Jews, and LGBTQIA+ individuals.

Unfortunately, the notion of confronting this hatred has not yet breached the ranks of the Republican candidates for president. Immediately after the Jacksonville murders, former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis quickly offered prayers for the families of the three individuals who were murdered, yet neither man had the courage to address the subject of white supremacy or access to guns, which were most certainly at the root of this most recent tragedy and other racially motivated murders.

Even more insulting to the victims of the Jacksonville attack, Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy moved with expedience to connect the white gunman’s violent attack with the crisis of mental illness in this country. Mental illness has increasingly become the escape route politicians use to sidestep having frank discussions about white supremacy and the proliferation of guns in America.

And so the question will continue to be asked: “What can we do to stem the tide of hate-motivated murders and terrorism?” We may not have all of the answers, but there is one thing CCAR cannot afford to do, and that is to sit by and do absolutely nothing!

God bless America and the families that have been torn apart by these cruel, senseless, and hate- motivated murders.

Reuben J. Boyd Jr.

President, Clergy & Citizens Against Racism