The US President Barack Obama has paid tribute to nine African-Americans who lost their lives in a recent church shooting, saying their deaths should inspire Americans to finally confront the challenges of gun violence and race relations.
The 53-year-old Barack Obama said at a funeral for the church pastor that as a nation, out of this terrible tragedy, “God has visited grace upon us. For He has allowed us to see where we’ve been blind and to find our best selves where we’ve been lost,” USA Today reported.
The nation’s first African-American president added that on issues ranging from the Confederate flag to voting rights to hiring practices, the nation can do a better job of living up to its creed of equal opportunity.
Obama again called for legislation to restrict the availability of guns that have taken so many lives, lest the nation betray the memories of Emanuel AME Church victims.
Delivering the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Obama praised the shooting victims, their families and people across South Carolina and the United States for coming together in the face of a hateful crime at Mother Emanuel.
In the end, preacher-like Obama led the crowd in a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” The following speaker described him as “the Reverend president.”
In addition to race relations and gun control, Obama said the nation should also address problems such as poverty and police-community relations, especially in African-American communities.