CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — The board which oversees the Emanuel Nine Memorial announced Wednesday a $2 million donation from the City of Charleston.
The donation is meant to help fund the construction of the memorial and help grow the foundation’s social justice programs and initiatives designed to end racism, The Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation said.
“Their contribution will ensure that the memory of the Emanuel Nine will never be forgotten, the resilience and strength of the Survivors will continue to be celebrated, and the messages of forgiveness, love and grace will draw all people together… ” Rev. Eric S.C. Manning, pastor of the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church and co-chair of the Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation said in a statement.
The Emanuel Nine Memorial honors the nine victims and five survivors of a racially motivated mass murder at Mother Emanuel A.ME. Church on June 17, 2015. It will be located on the grounds of the church and include a courtyard with fellowship benches.
The two benches are designed to face each other with high backs that arc up and around like sheltering wings, the board said.
The benches will encircle a marble foundation where the names of the victims will be carved. Water will come from a cross-shaped source and fill the basin, gently spilling over the names of the nine. Towards the back of the courtyard there will be a simple altar.
Included in the memorial will also be a survivor’s garden surrounded by six stone benches and five trees, symbolizing the five survivors. The sixth symbolizes the church as a whole, also as a survivor.
The memorial garden is expected to open late 2022. Groundbreaking is scheduled to start this fall.
“Living without hope is like living in continuous darkness. Hope peers through the darkness, sees the light and waits until morning. Let this memorial be our morning and a beacon of love, peace and understanding for the world,” Charleston City Council Member William Dudley Gregorie
The city’s donation was spearheaded by Gregorie, according to the Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation Board.
“The City of Charleston has been with us and supported us since the beginning of the tragedy, which we greatly appreciate. We thank the City and are greatly energized by its substantial donation to the Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation to help us build the Emanuel Nine Memorial. May God bless the City of Charleston for all it has done and will continue to do,” said Polly Sheppard, an Emanuel Nine survivor.