Read the response of a number of South Carolinians to the massacre including former Charleston Mayor (10 term) Joseph P. Riley Jr.
Their hearts and minds were full of grace, always searching for ways to more fully live the life that God was leading them to. They met each week at Bible study.
Those nine people attending the Wednesday Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME opened their doors and hearts to a man that was full of racial hate and bigotry and he took their lives.
On this anniversary, our minds turn again to those whose lives were touched by those nine beautiful people ”” their families, co-workers, friends and members of the community.
We also remember the survivors, and pray that they all find peace and comfort in our thoughts for them.
Through the leadership of the families, this remarkable community showed the world what the grace of forgiveness and community solidarity can do. What manifested itself worldwide was an outpouring of love.
We would expect nothing less than this from our outstanding community.
There are two important ways we can act together at this time of great sadness to honor the memory of the Emanuel Nine.
First, we cannot rest until a responsible handgun law is passed, at the very least eliminating the loophole that allowed Dylann Roof to purchase a gun legally.
Second, we must work hard to support the construction of the International African American Museum on one of the most sacred sites of African-American history in this hemisphere. This museum will teach the untold story of the inhumane practice of slavery and the remarkable endurance and contributions of those who were brought here. The museum will honor the Emanuel Nine, and the goodness of their lives will instruct countless people in the years to come.
The nine lives taken at Mother Emanuel AME touched each one of us. We will continue to remember them and their courage and sacrifice for the rest of our days.