Stronger Together: The role of faith as we have a discussion on race in Roanoke, Lynchburg, and all of southwest Virginia

Stronger Together

Stronger Together is a special limited series produced by WFXR News to explore the issues of race in America. Each week’s episode airs Saturdays at 6 p.m. on WWCW-TV 21.1 and Sundays at 11 p.m. on WFXR-TV 27.1.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – It has been five years since a white supremacist killed nine people inside a Charleston, South Carolina, church. A Charlotte City councilman who lost his sister in the church massacre says the city needs to act now to end racism.

“What mattered to him (the killer) was that they (the church goers) were there, and they were black, so it was an attack on a race of people,” said Malcolm Graham.

His sister, Cynthia Graham Hurd, and eight others were killed at church by a white supremacist five years ago.

The killer, Dylann Roof, was sentenced to die for the shooting inside Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

But Graham, a Charlotte City councilman, says his sister would say things have not gotten any better today.

“She would probably say that five years later not much has changed in terms of racism and hatred and bigotry.”

Graham says you don’t have to look any further than last month’s police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

But there has been some change. A month after the church massacre, South Carolina took down the Confederate flag on the State House grounds.

“But for their (the church goers’) deaths, that flag would still be flying today, and so it took a tragedy for the flag to come down.”

Malcolm Graham says his sister would be proud of the movement right now to end racism and police brutality.

“She would say, ‘Keep the faith, and do the work,’ that we got to James chapter 2, ‘Faith without works is dead.”

“I hope that this movement will not only go beyond the streets, but also impact what happens in corporate boardrooms and city councils and county commissions,” Malcolm Graham said.

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