Why should Mother Emanuel be nominated for the prestigious Nobel Peace prize? The better question should be why shouldn’t they?

In the immediate aftermath of a tragedy based on hate and ignorance, in the face of a country in conflict over race, authority and murderous mayhem from coast to coast, our Mother Emanuel looked up at the world with tears still flowing and with shattered hearts showed our planet that hate cannot win because only love can conquer hate.

This congregation and these families did not come together to decide this reaction. They live this way. They willingly come together in peace every opportunity, every Wednesday night and every Sunday. They believe what they pray. They know before whom they stand.

Forgiveness and prayer are a way of life for them. It is not an act for the press. It is who they are, and we should be grateful for their courage to come forth in peace. Had their actions on that sad Lowcountry night instead been one of reaction, we would have seen Charleston irreparably harmed. With a cowardly murderer on the run, with our city gripped in fear, the light of the next day brought forth grief-stricken families still in shock, asking for nothing, offering us hope.

Instead of anger, they valiantly took one step at a time, one breath at a time, with every ounce of faith they had, and in doing so, armed with generations of great dignity and amazing grace, extended their hands to the heart of Charleston, our nation and the world, on the morning after unimaginable horror and personal loss, in gratitude for the lives of their loved ones, they prayed and offered peace.

They did not do so to receive monies, notoriety or awards. The broken hearts of our beloved Mother Emanuel showed our city and the world that peace was the foundation of their freedom, faith, dignity and future.

Sonya Livingston

Confederate Circle

Charleston