The local chapter of the National Black United Front invited community members and activists on Friday to speak and perform music in honor of the nine victims of the Wednesday shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.
The vigil, held at the African American Civil War Memorial drew a large crowd despite a looming storm.
Attendees chanted the names of the nine victims of Wednesday night’s shooting – Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Myra Thompson, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lee Lance, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons Sr., DePayne Middleton-Doctor and Susie Jackson.
Nkechi Taifa performed a poem on Denmark Vesey, a former slave. Vesey helped found Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where Wednesday’s shooting took place, and was executed for his role in planning a major slave revolt in Charleston, S.C. in 1822. Taifa was one of many community members who presented poetry or music as part of the vigil.
Activist and D.C. Council candidate Eugene Puryear spoke at the vigil demanding an "international perspective in how we mourn" and a "revolutionary mindset" in organizing movements to combat oppression.
A Black Liberation flag, or Pan-African flag, waves over the crowd as the final words are delivered at the vigil.
An attendee protects his newly lit flame as light rain falls. The attendees then held a moment of silence lit by candlelight.
As attendees finish lighting their candles, Symone Sanders prepares to release nine balloons, each representing one of the victims.
Attendees released nine balloons at the end of the vigil.
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