Dear Citizens of the Charleston Community:
On the evening of June 17, 2015, we were all heartbroken by the tragic news that nine dedicated church members had been shot while in a prayer meeting at Mother Emanuel AME Church on Calhoun Street. And they had been praying in love and faith with the alleged shooter. The event has been difficult to accept and certainly difficult to understand.
The alleged shooter, however, did not find fertile ground for his plan to create strife and dissension. The reaction of this community of love and sharing, caring for each other and coming together to support the church and the grieving families underscored the foundation here of solidarity, unity and inclusion.
Our community has shown the world how to pass through a difficult time walking together and sharing the grief and sadness of this senseless tragedy.
Now we will begin to work on where we go from here. This chapter of the book is not closed. We know that there are issues we must address and find ways to ensure that doors continue to be opened, even wider. We already know that the flag is a symbol which must be removed from the grounds of the statehouse. And we know that the International African American Museum must be built so that the history of people who helped build our country will be known by all.
I am grateful to all of you. I thank you for what you have done during this sad time, from passing out water, to bringing flowers to the church, to saying prayers for the family or providing services for those who need them. We will be stronger and even more united as we continue to move through the stages of this event. Thank you.
Most sincerely yours,
Mayor, City of Charleston