Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting that occurred on June 17, 2015. The tragic event ignited conversation of racial inequality and injustice both nationally and globally. Today – especially in the wake of the death of George Floyd – that same conversation and the actions that need to be taken are crucial for moving forward.
In past years, the Mother Emanuel AME Church + the City of Charleston have hosted a series of commemorative events to honor the nine men and women who lost their lives. This year, due to the pandemic, the community is finding modified ways to honor and remember the victims, their families and the survivors. Here are a few:
○ News 2 will air a special report today at 7 p.m., featuring victims’ families and church + community leaders.
○ “Emanuel” – the 75-minute award-winning documentary filmed in the homes of the victims’ family members + Mother Emanuel AME Church – is available to stream for free until June 23 via Vimeo.
○ Yesterday, US House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn hosted a virtual panel discussion through Facebook Live featuring the executive producers of “Emanuel,” Viola Davis and Julius Tennon, co-producer Mariska Hargitay + Pastor A.R. Bernard. Watch here.
○ “We Are Charleston” by Herb Frazier, Dr. Bernard Edward Powers, Jr. + Marjory Wentworth | This book speaks of the shooting along with a deeper look at the impact the event had, and continues to have, on those who formed Mother Emanuel AME church.
○ “Called to Forgive” by Pastor Anthony B. Thompson | This book is the account of the murder of Pastor Thompson’s wife, Myra Thompson; his grief; and why and how he chose to forgive the shooter.
○ “Grace Will Lead Us Home” by Jennifer Berry Hawes | As a journalist, Hawes used her skills and position to create a story that provides an account of the tragedy’s aftermath – including the survivors’ lives, turmoil between the victims’ families and the church, movements the shooting sparked and the question of forgiveness.
○ An essay from Chris Singleton about how his life has changed since losing his mother, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, that night.
○ These books on social justice and race.
○ Beginning at 4 p.m. today, local advocacy group CHS Students for Black Lives will meet in Marion Square and peacefully march downtown until 7 p.m. Following the march, the group will reconvene at Mother Emanuel AME Church at 9 p.m. for Pastor Thomas Dixon’s memorial event. More details here.
○ On Sun., June 21, Emanuel AME Church leaders will hold a unity rally beginning at the Charleston Maritime Center (10 Wharfside St.) and ending at the church (110 Calhoun St.), where various speakers will discuss current events and the impact they have on the younger generation. The rally will take place from 1-3 p.m.
○ The Emanuel Nine Memorial, which was announced in 2018, is still taking shape. The estimated $7 million project will serve to honor both the victims and the survivors of the tragedy. The community is encouraged to donate if they are able so construction may be able to begin by 2021.