The late Rev. Ralph Abernathy said, “I don’t know what the future may hold, but I know who holds the future.” When he spoke these words it’s as if he somehow knew the path that fate had laid down for the life of the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney.

I was a senior staffer in the S.C. Senate when Clem Pinckney was first elected to join its ranks. I had a warm association with the senator while he served in the House, having worked with him as he worked well and closely with his predecessor representing Senate District 45.

In his tragic death, his legacy provides the future of a society in our state the real and palpable opportunity to leave behind the scourge of racism, bigotry and hate. If you knew Clem Pinckney you are so compelled; if you did not know him you are impelled to seek reconciliation, to speak truth to power and to act with civility and purpose.

The Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon, a preacher well known and popular in 19th century England, had words so perfectly suited to our brother Clementa Pinckney, they must be repeated here:

“A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.”

The name of Clementa C. Pinckney is carved on a sea of hearts impossible to number. Let us all work to honor his legacy.

Frank Caggiano

Wilmot Avenue

Columbia