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Charleston Church Shooting Victims

This Washington Post video features reactions from community members in the wake of the Charleston church shooting (also known as the Charleston church massacre). On June 17, 2015, white supremacist and domestic terrorist, Dylann Roof, murdered nine African-Americans during a prayer service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The attack, classified as a “hate crime,” was considered to be particularly egregious due to the important role that the 202-year-old church has played in the Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter movements. In the video, we see people grieving and paying their respects to the victims of the shooting, and discussing their feelings about the tragedy. Various members of the community are interviewed reflecting on the impact of the tragedy. The video concludes on a hopeful note with people saying it is time for change, and touting the community’s resilience.  

discussion

What makes this massacre a hate crime? Why is it significant that the attack happened at this particular church? What role does the history of the church play in understanding this crime?

Describe the responses of the various community members interviewed. How do they describe their feelings? What do we see in the scenes outside the church while we hear from the community members? How do these visuals help convey the tragedy?

How do we see the faith of the community coming through in their response to this crime?

Why are places of worship often targeted by hate groups?