One year ago, nine members of the historical Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, were killed during a session of Bible study. All those killed were African-American, and the shooter, Dylann Roof, was white. He told the survivors he attacked their church because he wanted to start a race war.
Now, on the anniversary of the massacre, the church and the city of Charleston are holding several services and events to honor the victims: the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, the Rev. Sharonda Singleton, Cynthia Hurd, the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Myra Thompson and the Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr.
The first event Friday is an ecumenical service at the College of Charleston’s TD Arena. You can watch the service live by clicking here or in the live stream below.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott were scheduled to speak at the service, along with other local politicians and leaders, ABC News reported.
Haley reminded the memorial attendees that before Roof killed the nine people in Charleston last year, he joined the parishioners at the Emanuel AME Church in prayer.
"As they preached the word of God, as they talked about Mark chapter four, during that hour, for a moment the murderer changed. He suddenly said he thought about not doing it," Haley said during the memorial. "Those 12 people in that room changed him for a few moments because he was taken by their love and their kindness and their word of God."
She emphasized that she wanted to remember the three survivors of the shooting and their strength over the past year, as well as the respect she said she saw in those across South Carolina.
The anniversary of the Charleston shooting comes less than a week after another mass shooting that took place in Orlando, Florida on Sunday when a man killed 49 people in a gay nightclub there.
Melissa Rogers, special assistant to President Barack Obama, delivered a message from the White House on Friday at the memorial. "We look to Mother Emanuel for inspiration in the wake of Orlando," she said.
In addition to the service, a community dinner and unity event are set to take place in Charleston, with many of the events open to the public, according to CNN.