"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Nick Simonette.
You're no doubt aware of the nine innocent lives violently taken away in a Charleston Church.
"Horrific," "tragic," "senseless" – all appropriate adjectives to describe what happened during that Bible Study.
But there are other words we can associate with the family members of the victims.
They came across as "remarkable," "exemplary," and "inspiring."
One after another, they forgave the young man for his actions. They also called for divine mercy.
Their calming words went a long way towards stemming any retaliatory violence.
Civic and religious leaders and law enforcement officers also helped keep a possible powder keg from exploding.
And certainly, the citizens of Charleston understood that this was not the time to demonstrate rage, nor burn their own buildings to the ground.
The Charleston shootings and other recent incidents show that we still have a long way to go in our race relations.
Removing symbols seen as hateful by some members of our society is a start.
But it's going to take a lot more conversation, understanding, and empathy toward others to truly make a difference.
We need to mirror the attitude of those grieving family members who said that hate has no place in their lives.
We need to embrace our similarities and not focus on our differences.
And we need to begin all of that now.