As the nation grieves, people from all walks of life gathered Saturday evening in downtown Tampa to remember the victims of the Charleston shooting.
About 400 miles south of Charleston, the Tampa community came together to show solidarity. More than a hundred people attended the vigil in Gaslight Square Park Saturday evening to remember the 9 lives taken in Charleston. And at twilight, candlelight took over Gaslight.
“Rev. Daniel Simmons… Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor…”
One by one, Pastor Katie Culbert called out the names of the victims at the center of the crowd. Those who attended were from different racial, economic, and religious background. But despite their differences, the people stood as one to express anger, grief, and frustration.
“What happens to one, happens to all. And we share in the disease of racism that plagues this country. In this shooting which is the symptom of this disease. We gather here tonight to grieve, and to proclaim that black lives matter.”
In order to cure the disease of racism and the culture of hatred, Pastor Mable Smith asks the crowd to stay united and to teach the younger generation to love.
“Let’s be united not because of what happened. Let’s stay united everyday, 24/7. We can do that. We’re free. We can do that. We can teach everyone to love and come together.”