Community gathers in Bluffton after tragedy in Charleston - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Community gathers in Bluffton after tragedy in Charleston

BLUFFTON, SC (WTOC) - In the Lowcountry, the Bluffton MLK observance Committee is gearing up for a vigil in Old Town Bluffton to honor the victims of the Charleston massacre.

The tragedy in Charleston is bringing so many groups of people together. The vigil starts at 6 p.m. This community says they aren't letting this hate crime divide them.

A very diverse group of people from all across the Lowcountry, gathered at the Campbell Chapel AME church on Friday.

“We're hoping through the prayers, the scriptures, the hymns, we'll find healing. Or at least begin the process," Jon Black with the Campbell Chapel AME Church said. 

Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka said it's an open place for the whole community to mourn the loss of a great leader is what they need.

“You look at his face, he was such a tender giant. He was very busy in Columbia but he loved God, he loved his town, including Bluffton, and this church, and he loved the people," she said. 

Sulka said Dylann Roof, the man accused of killing Senator Pinckney and 8 others, was trying to create a divide among races, but instead he brought them closer.

“He was trying to set the stage for what happens in this country. You know what? He didn't know who he was messing with, because we come together. We don't fight," she said. 

If Senator Pinckney was here to see all of his people, coming together after a tragedy, Sulka said she know's exactly what he would say.

“Job well done. This is what so many people want. He preached it. He was such a loving, kind man," Sulka said. 
One thing everyone said about Senator Pinckney is that he loved the Lowcountry and he worked every day of his life to make it better place.

"He believed in the young children and he believed in the school system. As bad as our school system was, he still stuck with it," Barbara Clark said.

In one of his last interviews with WTOC, Senator Pinckney spoke about involving the public in redistricting the school district lines in Jasper County.

"It's important that we remember everybody a seat at the table. It's important to be a part of the process. Those of us who are here and have interest here, it's important that we are heard and that's why we're here as a delegation, to hear everybody," he said. 

His friends and colleagues say Senator Pinckney's work isn't done.

"The things that he was passionate about, improving the quality of life for the people of Jasper County, seeing a port become a reality along the Savannah River in Jasper County. All of those things are going to come to pass and we have a renewed sense of commitment to making those things happen. What better way to celebrate his life than to go ahead and champion those things he championed so ably while he was in the Senate," Tom Davis said.

Both Clark and Senator Davis said they will work tirelessly to see Senator Pinckney's visions for the Lowcountry, come true.

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