CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation Board, which manages the fundraising, construction, endowment and outreach for the Emanuel Nine Memorial, announced today that Florida-based SouthState Bank, which was founded in South Carolina, has donated $100,000 to the Emanuel Nine Memorial.
The foundation, along with civic and church leaders, recently broke ground on the memorial during a ceremony on July 22 at the Mother Emanuel AME Church, and the memorial is expected to open in late 2024.
Plans for the memorial began shortly after the tragedy as community leaders reached out to the Mother Emanuel AME Church to form a partnership to honor the memory of the Emanuel Nine. Together, a mission statement was shaped, a designer was selected and meetings with survivors and victims’ families informed the creation of design principles for what would become the Emanuel Nine Memorial. Once fundraising began, the memorial’s design plans commenced.
Designed by Michael Arad, the architect behind the National September 11 Memorial in New York, the memorial consists of two phases. Phase I is located adjacent to the Mother Emanuel AME Church and will feature a courtyard with two fellowship benches facing each other with high backs that arc up and around like sheltering wings. At the center of the courtyard, the curves of the benches will encircle a marble fountain where the names of the Emanuel Nine will be carved around the fountain’s edge. Water will emanate from a cross-shaped source, filling the basin and gently spilling over the names of the nine lives lost. The opening between the benches toward the back of the courtyard will reveal a cross above a simple altar, providing visitors a quiet place to linger in thought and prayer.
Phase II of the memorial will include a survivors’ garden, which will be accessed by a pathway from the courtyard. Dedicated to life and resiliency, the garden will be surrounded by six stone benches and five trees, symbolizing the five survivors – the sixth signifying the church is also a survivor.
With a fundraising goal of $25 million to design, build, maintain and protect the Emanuel Nine Memorial, as well as fund educational outreach and social justice initiatives, the Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation relies on individual and corporate contributions that can be made online by visiting: www.emanuelnine.org/donate.
“Community is at the core of what we hold dear at SouthState Bank, and it is our honor to be part of this important effort to support the families and survivors of those lost at Mother Emmanuel AME Church. It is our hope that this memorial and the survivors’ garden will be a place of respite and reflection for Charleston and all who come to pay their respects and remember the nine souls lost.” -Bill Medich, state president, South Carolina, at SouthState Bank
“The Emanuel Nine Memorial will serve as a place of healing and resilience, and we are incredibly grateful to South Carolina-founded SouthState Bank for its generous commitment and partnership. It is inspiring to see the business community unite in support of the Memorial Foundation and we look forward to unveiling the completed memorial next year.” -John Darby, Co-chair of the Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation
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