By Chelsea Lenora White
On the evening of June 17, 2015, 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof marched into what was typically thought to be the purest form of sanctuary—a church—and terrorized a group of black worshippers. Nine people, including senior pastor and South Carolina State Senator Clementa C. Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel L. Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson were murdered that evening. Roof was convicted with 33 federal hate crimes and murder charges and subsequently sentenced to death in 2017.
Four years later, the survivors and victims are sharing their respective voices in a new documentary, Emanuel.
From the official press release:
From executive producers Stephen Curry and Viola Davis, co-producer Mariska Hargitay, and director Brian Ivie (The Drop Box), Emanuel is a powerful documentary with a poignant story of justice and faith, love and hate, examining the healing power of forgiveness. Featuring intimate interviews with survivors and family members of the 2015 Charleston Emanuel AME Church shooting, Emanuel will be a Fathom limited event in movie theaters across the country for two nights only: June 17 and 19- the anniversaries of the shooting, and Dylann Roof’s first court appearance when he was forgiven by the survivors of his crime and the family members of his victims.
The film’s producers will be donating their share of profits from the film to the survivors of the shooting and the families of the victims.
“We, along with the country, grieved each family’s loss,” Executive Producers Davis and Julius Tennon of JuVee Productions said via press release. “Yet, miraculously, from this devastation we witnessed tremendous benchmarks of humanity. The survivors found courage to love in the face of hate.”
Emanuel, produced in direct partnership with the City of Charleston, S.C., will be in theaters on June 17 and June 19.
This article originally appeared in the Houston Forward Times.