Hello, Reverend Chineta. This is Sharonda.
I know it has been some time since we talked,
but I want you to know that I love you.
All things are well. All things are good.
I do want you to to know
that all things are good.
High school track star,
pastor, mother, teacher, coach–
she was a lady, first, he said,
elegant and articulate, the best
speech pathologist he had ever worked with.
Coach, your son plays college ball.
Mrs. Singleton, your children speak beautifully
of you. Pastor, Reverend Chineta, whom you called
to leave that message, thinks you knew
that you were called. She’s in a better place,
they say, which may be true.
She made this place a better place.
This we know is true, though all may not yet
The massacre of nine people on Wednesday, June 17th at the historic Emanuel A.M.E. church in Charleston, South Carolina, is a tragedy of national proportions. I feel strongly that this is a time for all Americans to act in whatever way we can to address the racial hatred that lives on in our country in ways both great and small. This is the third of a series of poems honoring the victims of the Charleston shooting.
The words that open this poem are from a voicemail that Sharonda Coleman-Singleton left for her college friend and fellow pastor Chineta Goodjoin two weeks before her death. Some of the words in the second half of the poem are from a tribute to Mrs. Singleton from her children and those who knew her at Goose Creek High School, where she had taught since 2007. Reminiscences on her life and legacy appear on the high school’s athletic association’s Facebook page.