Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg visited Charleston this weekend, attending a Sunday morning service at Emanuel AME Church as part of a yearlong effort to visit communities across the country.
In a post to his personal Facebook page late Sunday, Zuckerberg described Charleston and Emanuel’s congregation as models of resilience and compassion.
"The community experienced a level of grief beyond what I can imagine, and they are still working through it. Yet in the face of such hate and tragedy, the victims' families forgave the murderer and treated him with compassion," Zuckerberg wrote. "We have a lot to learn from Charleston and Mother Emanuel."
Zuckerberg also attended a Purim celebration at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, a historic congregation in downtown Charleston and the birthplace of Reform Judaism in North America.
Later in the day Sunday, Zuckerberg traveled to Greenville to stop by the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. The Greenville News reported that Zuckerberg toured the riverfront campus, took in a dance performance and met with a group of students.
Earlier in the weekend, Zuckerberg met with civic and religious leaders in the Lowcountry, saying he’d had dinner Saturday night with "the reverend, rabbi, police chief, mayors, and heads of local non-profits."
He praised Charleston for making efforts to bridge the city’s divides and for coming together after nine black parishioners were gunned down at Emanuel by an avowed white supremacist in 2015.
But he also wrote that "the community still has issues." Racial inequality and a sense of civility that leaves some issues "unspoken" challenge the city’s progress, he wrote.
The visit comes as the Facebook founder makes a series of trips around the country this year. In January, he wrote that he wanted to have met someone from every state by the end of the year, so he said he’d visit 30 or so states over the course of 2017.
Zuckerberg will travel next to North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, where he's scheduled to give a talk Monday.
"I hope more communities lift up their eyes to see what you have built," Zuckerberg wrote. "It will help them when their hearts are heavy, and it will help us all build stronger communities around the world."