DC vigil for Charleston shooting victims highlights racism problem in US
Hundreds in Washington D.C. turned out to remember the nine people killed after a gunman opened fire inside a house of worship in Charleston, South Carolina.
People gathered for a vigil outside the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum as they remembered the lives lost.
It was a different type of vigil Friday night as the beat of African drums beat in the background. There were also chants like this one: "America has a problem and that problem is racism."
Members of the National Black United Front along with hundreds of others honored the nine victims who died in the massacre at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. They also sent a message about hate and racism in America.
"This is not about guilt, this is not about pointing fingers, this about addressing the issues here," said Jamal "DjOneluv" Muhammad. "We have hate in America and we have had hate in America for a very long time. But we keep acting like it's not anymore."
People who came to the vigil said they came to show solidarity with the victims and their families. Others said they came to mourn the nine lives that were lost. Some said they came due to fear that Americans are repeating the same racial violence that has happened in the past.
"My mind first went to the 16th Street bombing," said Christina Jacobs of the National Black United Front. "Really just the fact that we're repeating history over and over again."
Activists stressed that change is needed.
"A message of urgency, a message that this is unacceptable, that black people are being targeted," Jacobs said.
And everyone agrees that change starts with conversation.
"I think the first step is people acknowledging that it's a very serious issue in America, and I think if we start with that, we can start having conversations with people," said Kenya Goodson.