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Charleston Reacts to Emanuel A.M.E. Church Shooting

June 18, 2015 - Posted in Palmetto Scene by Kaitlyn Park
Vigil

Charleston, the state of South Carolina and the country continue to try and make some sense out of the incomprehensible tragedy that occurred on Wednesday evening, as nine victims were gunned down in a Bible study at Emanuel A.M.E. Church on Calhoun Street.

Members of the Palmetto Scene team were able to partake in the outpouring of love and support that filled the streets of Charleston, the vigil at Morris Brown A.M.E. Church and beyond.

Some community members question what could possibly have driven this young man to commit murder, and what it means in America.

“This is a young man, 21 years old, I mean he’s a baby, and he has been indoctrinated in so much hatred that his life is over. He not only took nine lives, but his life is over, and surely his parents are saddened right? So this isn’t just an African American issue, it’s an American issue.” Dr. Patricia Williams, a College of Charleston professor relayed.

Students pay homage to what these victims and their house of worship mean to the Holy City.

“Obviously the whole city is grieving, and very obviously this is a tragedy beyond all reason, and we’re part of the city. We’re students, we’re down here all the time, we’re around these buildings, we pass this church every day going to the library. We know a lot of the history of it.” Josh Ferguson, a student said.

Others grieve the state of conditions that lead to lives being lost.

“So we’re gonna pray, but South Carolina, we do have some work to do. I mean, one of the things I’ll always remember is Clementa Pinckney, every day, worked in the offices of the Confederate flag. That is real. That is South Carolina. There is a lot of hate in our communities. There is a lot of desperation and despair in our communities. You know...it just, it seems like every day you have to add another name to the list of people that you’re living for.” shared Bakari Sellers, a former S.C. House Representative.

Others look forward.

“I hope that it changes the dialogue. I hope that it stops the hate, and it stops the rhetoric that this young man was not able to turn off. They’re words to some people, but they’re words that turn into actions for others.” Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, stated.

In response to this horrific event, the Charleston community, the state and the nation are coming together.

“It shows that love overpowers all. We’ll live with that.” Sellers concluded.

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