Members of the Congressional Black Caucus announced the creation of a scholarship Friday named in honor of the pastor and state senator killed in a mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015.
The Clementa C. Pinckney Legacy Builder Scholarship will allow any person interested in politics and public service to attend for free the Congressional Black Caucus Institute’s “boot camp,” a five-day leadership training program in Washington D.C.
“I can think of no better way to extend the legacy of Sen. Pinckney than through the development of young, inquiring minds,” said Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., at a press conference Friday at the Charleston Marriott hotel, flanked by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., and Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg.
Pinckney was one of nine African American worshipers gunned down by a young white supremacist during a Bible study at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015. Pinckney was both the pastor of Emanuel AME Church and a state senator for Jasper County.
The Honorable Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney Foundation, established by Pinckney’s widow, Jennifer Pinckney, will select the annual winner. Details of when or how to apply for the scholarship have not yet been finalized.
“Sen. Pinckney answered a number of calls. He answered a calling to minster the gospel and to help people fulfill their faith and give them direction, but he also answered a calling for public service,” Richmond said. “What we’re doing today is helping young people, older people, anyone who has that shared calling of public service to help others. We’re gonna help them and we’re gonna help develop the skills that they need to get to where they need to be.”
The Congressional Black Caucus Institute is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit led by Rep. Thompson. At the institute’s annual summer boot camp, participants learn about fundraising, polling, and how to run and win a campaign for elected office. Graduates of the boot camp include Anthony Foxx, the former mayor of Charlotte, N.C. and U.S. Secretary of Transportation, and S.C. Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison.
“Our goal is to create that next leader who can’t fill Sen. Pinckney’s shoes, but certainly can walk a similar path,” Richmond said. “One of sacrifice, one of faith and one of lifting people as they climb.”
Reach Deanna Pan at 843-937-5764 and follower her on Twitter @DDpan.