Congressional Black Caucus Institute Announces Scholarship to Honor Slain Mother Emanuel Senior Pastor

Vanessa Griddine-Jones and Reverend Eric S.C. Manning

On February 22, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute (CBCI) announced a scholarship to honor Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney, former State Senator and senior pastor at Mother Emanuel AME Church who was killed with eight others in a racially motivated massacre in 2015. The CBCI seeks to continue his legacy of excitement and enthusiasm for political activism and empowerment by funding a scholarship to our political boot camp training for future leaders in his honor.

The official announcement was made at a press conference at Mother Emanuel AME Church where the CBCI is also conducting an Advocacy and Campaign Training (ACT) workshop. The scholarship announcement and the ACT workshop come ahead of the Democratic Presidential Debate (CBCI is a co-host) and Primary in South Carolina.

“We are proud to be in Charleston, SC, as a co-host of the SC Presidential Debate while also conducting a campaign training as part of our “First in the South Presidential Debate Summit” weekend. We thank the City of Charleston and the Pastor and congregation of Mother Emanuel AME Church for welcoming us so enthusiastically,” said Vanessa Griddine-Jones, Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. “More than 20 years ago, I had the pleasure of serving with the late Reverend Clementa Pinckney as a page and legislative aide in the South Carolina General Assembly. I felt that I had to find a way to honor his passion for public service. Being able to conduct this training in his home church is the CBCI’s way of continuing his legacy of excitement and enthusiasm for this work in a place that he loved and served. The scholarship announced today will fund future participants from the Charleston area to attend our annual Boot Camp in Washington, DC,” she added.

“Today, more than ever, we must all be active participants in the political process because every voice deserves to be heard and those we elect must truly and faithfully represent us. But political leaders, campaign workers, and effective advocates just don’t appear out of nowhere – they must be recruited and trained. The late Reverend Clementa Pinckney understood that and lived by it. That’s why the announcement of the scholarship and our partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus Institute is so important and timely,” said Reverend Eric S.C. Manning, Pastor, Mother Emanuel AME Church. “Mother Emanuel Church is both an historic and present-day example of people of faith who worship in service. The scholarship announcement today is a reminder to our community, state, and nation that, at Mother Emanuel, we do our best work outside our sanctuary’s walls,” he stated.

The scholarship will fully fund the costs for an aspiring future political leader from the Charleston area to attend the CBCI’s annual “Boot Camp,” an intensive week-long political training held in Washington, DC each summer. The selected scholarship recipient will go through a rigorous application review process to demonstrate the passion, energy, and commitment that will be required to be an effective future leader. The scholarship recipient will become one of more than 600 CBCI political training alumni who’ve gone on to serve their communities in diverse capacities – from a local school board to the US President’s Cabinet.

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