L to R: John Darby, Beach Company CEO, Reverend Dr. Norvel Goff, Sr., presiding elder, and Michael Arad, partner at Handel Architects of New York.

On June 17, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (EAMEC) announced that Michael Arad, partner at Handel Architects of New York, NY, has been selected to create a permanent memorial at the church to honor the nine victims of the June 17, 2015 tragedy, the survivors, and members of the church. Arad is best known for designing the National September 11 Memorial in New York City.

Plans for the memorial began in July of 2015 when The Beach Company approached Reverend Dr. Norvel Goff, Sr., presiding elder of the Edisto District of the AME Church, for his blessing to create a memorial fund and a community partnership with the church. The project is guided by an executive committee comprised of Mother Emanuel leadership and community leaders. A design build committee of local art, design and history professionals was also established to create a collaborative vision for the memorial.

“This memorial on the grounds of the church will help keep the memory of the Emanuel 9 alive and honor the resilience of the families, survivors and church members,” said Reverend Eric S.C. Manning, pastor of Mother Emanuel.

The fund was established via The Matching Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization in Charleston, SC, to enable contributions from the community to go toward the memorial. Tax-deductible donations can be made to the memorial fund online, by visiting http://bit.ly/2rsVxL3. Donations by check may be sent to “Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundationc/o Emanuel AME Church, 110 Calhoun St, Charleston, SC 29401.

“The victims of the Emanuel AME Church shooting will not be forgotten,” said John Darby, CEO of The Beach Company. “Their families’ and the church’s response to this tragic event has already materially changed the conversation about racism. They put faith and love above hatred, and the message inspired people across the globe. We are here to support their mission working side by side to help facilitate a memorial to promote the eradication of racism.”

Michael Arad is an Israeli-American architect who was chosen from more than 5,000 applicants to design the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center location in 2003. “Michael Arad’s design for the September 11 Memorial expresses both the devastating loss of life, while also expressing peace, comfort and hope,” said Reverend Manning. “His ability to symbolize these conflicting feelings to create a very moving memorial was a compelling qualification for the task of the Emanuel AME Memorial. It is our hope that his work on our memorial will evoke the weight of the tragedy as well as send an inspiring mandate for positive change to the world.”

“Being asked to design this memorial is a humbling and tremendous responsibility,” said Arad. “I will do my utmost to honor the memory of the deceased and give voice to the injured, the grieving families, and the community. If we are able to shine a light on the beauty, resiliency and love that was shown by members of this congregation and the community of Charleston, we will succeed in showing the best of humankind in the wake of the worst. I look forward to engaging in a collaborative design process with hope and humility.”

The church also announced the start of its capital campaign, established to address much-needed repairs and improvements to the 126-year-old church building. Donations to the capital campaign may be made payable to the “Mother Emanuel AMEC Historical Foundation” and mailed to the church at 110 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401.


Categories: Community News