Two years to the day from when white supremacist Dylann Roof opened fire on members of a Charleston, S.C., church, it was announced that the nine victims will be honored with a memorial.
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church said Saturday, June 17, that the Mother Emanuel 9, as the victims are collectively known, will be remembered with a permanent memorial at the sanctuary.
“This memorial on the grounds of the church will help keep the memory of the Emanuel 9 alive and honor the resilience of the families, survivors and church members,” Rev. Eric S.C. Manning said in a statement.
Michael Arad of Handel Architects in New York City has been selected to create the memorial because of his ability to symbolize feelings of devastation and hope in the 9/11 memorial, according to Manning. The pastor said he hopes the memorial will “evoke the weight of the tragedy as well as send an inspiring mandate for positive change to the world.”
“Being asked to design this memorial is a humbling and tremendous responsibility,” Arad said. “I will do my utmost to honor the memory of the deceased and give voice to the injured, the grieving families and the community.”
An executive committee, including church and community leaders and professionals in art, history and design, will guide the project, which will cost $1 million to complete. Mother Emanuel has been collecting donations for the memorial since 2015 beginning with a $40,000 contribution from local real estate agency The Beach Company.
“The victims of the Emanuel AME Church shooting will not be forgotten,” said John Darby, CEO of The Beach Company, who also is the co-chair of the Memorial Executive Committee. “Their families’ and the church’s response to this tragic event has already materially changed the conversation about racism.”
Roof pleaded guilty to the murders in state court in April and was given nine life sentences as a result. He is awaiting execution in federal prison.