Charleston, South Carolina – Today marks the seventh anniversary of one of the deadliest incidents in Charleston’s history, when eight parishioners and the pastor were killed after a shooting in a Black church in downtown Charleston.
According to the findings of the investigation, this incident was intended to incite racial tensions, so the white supremacist opened fire on a Wednesday night Bible study in which churchgoers had previously welcomed him.
But the white supremacist’s original plan to stir up racial tension failed, as during the suspect’s bail hearing, the survivors and relatives of the victims stood up and spoke words of forgiveness to the courtroom crowd.
The names of the victims killed in the incident are as follows: Susie Jackson, 87; The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Rev. DePayne Middleton, 49; Rev. Daniel Simmons, 74; Myra Thompson, 59; Cynthia Graham Hurd, 54; Ethel Lance, 70; Tywanza Sanders, 26, Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45.
Today, a park named in honor of Jackson, who was the oldest of the victims, will officially open to the public.
A monument in memory of those nine people who died in this tragic incident is planned to be built on church grounds, and construction is scheduled to start this fall and is expected to be finished by mid-2024.
The monument is intended to be a symbol of hope and a place where people can grieve, heal, and share. It will feature two fellowship benches facing each other with high backs that represent sheltering wings. A name basin of the nine lives taken will flow through the center and a cross will follow behind.
The Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation has a goal of raising $20 million, and so far, a total of $12.7 million has been raised for the project.