Forgiveness in the Charleston Tragedy – “Hate Won’t Win”

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ABOVE: Flowers left for the victims of the Charleston Shooting. CREDIT: Daily Mail/AP Images SOURCE:

Grace Li, Editor-in-Chief

On Wednesday, June 17th, nine innocent people were gunned down in Charleston, South Carolina by 21-year-old Dylann Roof. Before the tragedy occurred, these people had welcomed Roof into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church with open arms. Just an hour later, Roof turned on them, killing eight African-Americans at the scene, and fatally wounding another.

According to Roof’s roommate, Roof had been planning this terrorist attack for about six months. He had a deranged viewpoint that “black people…[were] ‘taking over the world’ and that someone…[needed] to do something about it for the sake of the ‘white race’”(Daily Mail). Roof used to wear an Apartheid-era flag on his jacket, and once posed with a car that had Confederate flags on the license plate. His blatantly racist personality and sense of white supremacy, combined with his hatred, led to this awful tragedy.

There are no words to capture the amount of disgust and hatred that must be going through the minds of millions around the globe right now. Among Roof’s victims included South Carolina state senator, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who fought long and hard for the “adoption of police body cameras” (Mother Jones). Others include those as young as 26, and as old at 87. For a list and short biographies, visit this article by

There are also no words to capture the amount of awe and admiration many must have for the families of the victims, who are choosing to forgive Roof, despite all that he has done.

“I will never be able to hold her again,” said victim Ethel Lance’s daughter, Nadine Collier. “But I forgive you, and have mercy on your soul.”

“Although my grandfather and the other victims died at the hands of hate, this is proof, everyone’s plea for your soul, is proof that they lived in love and their legacies will live in love,” said victim Daniel Simmons’s granddaughter, Wanda Simmons. “So hate won’t win.”

Simmons’s powerful words, “hate won’t win,” resonates the strength that these families have in the face of horror. They refuse to destroy themselves in hatred as Roof had done to himself.

“We have no room for hating, so we have to forgive.” Victim DePayne Middleton Doctor’s sister owed this forgiveness to the lessons ingrained in her by the life once led by Doctor. “I pray God on your soul.”