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Charleston WV to hold solidarity event for victims and families of Charleston SC shooting

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Community leaders from many of Charleston West Virginia’s civic, and faith-based organizations are asking people to gather at Haddad River Front Park during Live on the Levee tonight in a public show of sympathy and support for Charleston, S.C., and Emanuel AME Church still reeling from Wednesday’s shooting that left nine people dead. The witness of support will take place at 7:20 p.m. just before the main act takes the stage.

Dylann Roof, 21, of Lexington, SC, is suspected of Wednesday’s deadly shooting at the Emanuel AME Church during a prayer meeting. Witnesses say that Roof announced his intention was to “shoot black people” as he opened fire. Six females and three males were killed including pastor, and state Sen. Clementa Pinckney.

Tonight’s event is being organized by the Black Ministerial Alliance, the City of Charleston, OneKanawha, and Compassionate Charleston. “We are stunned and saddened by the events in Charleston, SC. It’s hard to imagine the hate that would drive someone to open fire in a place of worship after spending an hour sitting with people in prayer,” said Charleston City Council President, Tom Lane. “It’s reprehensible.”

“We have to acknowledge racial violence and tension in our communities is a reality. It is incumbent upon us to develop and deepen relationships with one another as a means to change this hideous paradigm. But first, we need to extend our prayers and support to those who are grieving,” said OneKanawha member, Debby Weinstein.

Rev. Roberta Smith, president of the Charleston Area Black Ministerial Alliance and AME minister, and Rev. Ron English, Black Ministerial Alliance member, will lead the event.

The groups are using social media to spread the word of the event using #OneKanawha. There has also been a Face Book event created which can be found at YWCA Charleston. Donations will be collected at Friday’s Live on the Levee for the Charleston, SC Emanuel AME Church’s victim relief fund.

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