March participants say Haley has more to learn about race

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV/AP) – A pastor affiliated with the church where nine black members were gunned down says South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is misguided when she talks about the state having racial harmony. Rev. Joseph Darby took the podium Saturday before hundreds assembled for Labor Day weekend activities in Charleston. His sentiments were echoed by an NAACP leader from North Carolina, who noted Haley only spoke out about removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds after the deaths, not before. Haley’s call to remove the flag was ultimately successful in July. She says the state has made race-based progress but still can do more. Her office also says the governor commends the African Methodist Episcopal church for setting a compassionate example that led the state through one of its most difficult times. The current pastor of Emanuel AME, the Rev. Norvel Goff, said during a rally Saturday at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church that justice will ultimately triumph over evil, and he knows good works can come from the tragedy. Goff marched through Charleston with the fathers of Tywanza Sanders and Walter Scott. Sanders was killed at Goff’s church by a gunman who authorities say was motivated by racial hatred. Scott was an unarmed black man shot and killed while running from a white officer in North Charleston. Surrounding Goff, thousands came together in prayer and in song, and they marched together through downtown Charleston as part of the Days of Grace rally. Those who came out to the rally and march say there were many reasons they wanted to take part. “Hope we can bring peace and harmony with all people,” Eddie McBride said. One of the goals of the Days of Grace event was to build unity after tragedy. They remembered Scott, and stood in honor for the Emanuel 9. The victims included the church‘s own pastor and state Senator, Reverend Clementa Pinckney. “How about we come in support and help our unity,” Arlethia Henry said. “We’re marching to help our community get guns out of the hands of the right people,” Virginia Beach said. “I’m hoping this goes out all over the world and shows that we were able to come together after such a tragedy,” Thomas Stokes said. During the march the supporters stopped at the shooting scene. “My heart goes out to the people who lost their lives living for Christ,” Connie Williams said. “It touched the whole community, The whole state of South Carolina,” John Henry said. Leaders say one of the most important things they want to do is see the causes near and dear to Rev. Pinckney continue marching forward. “The groups took those initiatives and put it down on paper and they want to move forward on the things he believed in as well,” event committee member Jesse Williams said. The two-day event was organized by a labor union, which also plans a rally as part of its Days of Grace Labor Day ceremonies. In addition to the public gathering and march through the streets of downtown Charleston, organizers and leaders will also spend a day in strategic planning to push their causes ahead. Organizers hope to make Days of Grace and annual event. —– Associated Press reporter Meg Kinnard contributed to this report from Charleston. Kinnard can be reached at

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