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06/19/2015 08:51 am ET Updated Jun 19, 2015

Former Colleague Remembers Charleston Shooting Victim Clementa Pinckney

After a heinous display of violence claimed the lives of nine churchgoers at Charleston's historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal on Wednesday, those close to the victims are speaking out and shedding light on the impact that they've had on their communities.

Rev. Clementa Pinckney was one of the many who lost their lives. Jason Johnson, a political analyst who knew Pinckney personally, joined HuffPost Live on Thursday and looked back on the reverend's legacy. Pinckney, who was also a state senator, had a long history of fighting against racial discrimination, Johnson told host Alyona Minkovski:

[Pinckney's] was the first campaign that I ever ran right after college. The Supreme Court had redrawn districts in the Lowcountry of South Carolina and turned a bunch of black majority districts into white majority districts, and here's this young guy who's a couple years older than me, he just wanted to represent his community. He was already a pastor. He had graduated from college and I spent three months traveling this part of the country with him, talking about faith and race and God and everything he wanted to do in all of his dreams.

Johnson said he's having a tough time grappling with Pinckney's death.

"To see him get taken down like this at such a young age, by a criminal and a coward and a racist, is one of the most tragic things i've ever experienced in my life," Johnson said.

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