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Special Letter from President Willis on the Charleston Tragedy

June 19, 2015

Dear SCWLA members and friends,

This is a personal letter to the women lawyers of South Carolina, and to women lawyers everywhere.

The senseless massacre in Charleston this week has stunned, and saddened, all of us.  Many of our members knew the people, good people, who were gunned down in what is being called, I fear correctly, a “hate crime.”  I knew Reverend Pinckney myself.

As lawyers, this event calls us to rise up as defenders of equality, to stand up as protectors of liberty, and to speak up as crusaders against hatred.  In a profound way, this unspeakable tragedy summons us to be our very best selves.  So today, the women lawyers of South Carolina say to all involved, “We will not tolerate this conduct -- not here, not now, not ever.”

But, my friends, long before we ever opened a book to read the rule of law, there was another book written on our hearts.  It is the book that teaches us, in this transitory life, to love our neighbors as ourselves.  And it is this rule, above all others, that will carry us through this valley of the shadow.

In closing, I urge you to keep your hearts open.  The survivors of this tragedy, the members of the historic church where the unthinkable happened, are setting this example for all of us.  I, for one, am humbled by their forgiveness and strengthened by their faith.

With best personal wishes,

Marguerite Willis
President