Why would someone go into a church, spend an hour listening and talking with people, bow his head in prayer with them and then shoot these same people?

People whom, before he walked into that church, he didn’t even know.

It’s been called a “hate crime.” But if the goal was to divide this community and cause neighbor to turn against neighbor, then it will surely fail.

Charlestonians everywhere, those who are black or white, Hispanic or Asian, those who have lived here all their lives and those (like me) who just recently arrived here, will not let that happen.

Charlestonians will decide that we must join hands and support each other as one community, one city. It may take some time. It may take a few tears and a lot of prayers, but trust me, Charleston will survive.

And I, for one, am very proud to be a part of that.

JATIKA MANIGAULT

Windermere Boulevard

Charleston