SC state representative visits Buffalo after shooting, calls for SC hate crimes law
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A South Carolina lawmaker traveled to Buffalo, New York, on Wednesday to show solidarity with the community where a white supremacist shooter killed 10 Black people at a grocery store earlier in May.
Rep. JA Moore, D – Berkeley, visited a memorial set up outside the site of the shooting, a Tops grocery store, dropped off food at a donation site, met with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, and spoke with members of Grace United Church.
Moore said the shooting “ripped my emotions all up.”
His sister, Myra Thompson, was one of nine people murdered by a white supremacist at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston nearly seven years ago.
“I look at the faces of this community, and I see myself. I see my family. I see our community. I see all of us,” Moore said.
The second-term state representative said he will return to South Carolina and share the stories of people in Buffalo he met, like a barber named Mark.
“The day of the tragic, racist act, he was on his way to Tops, and the only reason he wasn’t there when that tragedy happened is because someone walked in to get a haircut,” Moore said. “It’s Mark’s story, it’s all of our stories how we’re just living our daily life, and we can be victimized and terrorized by hate.”
Moore also called on Republican Gov. Henry McMaster to call a special session to pass the state’s hate crimes bill, which would attach more severe penalties to violent crimes determined to be hate crimes in South Carolina.
Lawmakers closed their legislative session about two weeks ago without advancing that bill to the governor’s desk after it stalled in the state Senate. The bill passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support in 2021.
“It will label people for who they are and what they’ve done,” Moore said.
South Carolina remains one of two states, along with Wyoming, without a state hate crimes law.
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