By Chris Ruffin
The Birmingham community came out to participate in Stand in Unity: A Candlelight Vigil for Charleston, to give honor to the nine victims at the Emmanuel AME Church shooting which happened June 17 in Charleston, SC.
The vigil was held at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, located on the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Campus on Wednesday June 24.
Kathryn Morgan, Director of African American Studies at UAB, spearheaded the vigil.
“We have to stand together, and honestly when we stand together we can make a difference,” Morgan said.
Candles were lit in remembrance of the victims by several UAB and Samford University students; Emmanuel Talley (UAB), April Moton (UAB), Jason C. Gardner (UAB), Garrett Stephens (UAB), Samuel Sullivan, IV. (UAB), Mohamad Moughneyah (UAB), Carlon Harris (UAB), Keiah Flowers (UAB), Chelsea Pennington (Samford).
Samuel Sullivan IV, a Junior Accounting major said, “Having this candlelight vigil truly shows that we care for the city of Charleston and that we’re here for them, in support of their losses.”
Once the students lit their candles, they dispersed into the crowd to light everyone elses candle for a moment of silence.
Rev. Mashon Evan, Pastor of St. John AME Church, gave words of encouragement. Following was a music selection by Dr. Paul Moateller, Associate Professor of Voice at the UAB Department of Music.
Lisa Tamaris Becker, Director of AEIVA said, “The vigil is really important because of the people coming together to remember and memorialize the lost lives, but also coming together and focus to create a more just future, in which we work to eliminate the racism, hatred and violence associated with this tragedy.
“Becker concluded the vigil with an invite to the one of AEIVA’s exhibition, The Freedom Exhibition: Two Countries One Struggle.
The exhibition features comparative photography of Spider Martin and Peter Magubane, which partially inspired the vigil to take place at the AEIVA. Martin was a Civil Rights photographer and Magubane was a South African apartheid photographer. The exhibition displays and compares approximately 100 photographs of the segregation in Birmingham during the Civil Rights Movement and the apartheid in South Africa.
The exhibition will continue through August 8, 2015