CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - "Every time we walk up and down Emanuel Way, we will remember the nine who made the ultimate sacrifice, said Rev. Dr. Richard Franklin Norris outside of the Mother Emanuel AME church at the official naming of the Mother Emanuel Way Memorial District Wednesday.
Charleston city leaders, members of the church and the bishops of the African American Episcopal Church celebrated the naming of the district at 11:30 a.m.
"It's very moving for me every time I come to this church, even now three months after," Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said. Riley said he, like many others, is still going through the healing process, but that this is a start.
A sign now hangs over Calhoun St. near the church. Smaller signs have been added over existing streets signs along Calhoun Street between Meeting and Concord streets.
The designation of the district installation was prompted by a recent resolution introduced by Charleston City Councilman William Dudley Gregorie, which was unanimously approved by city council.
Gregorie, who is running for mayor of Charleston, said creating the "Mother Emanuel Way Memorial District" honors the memories of the Emanuel 9 "whose lives give us a lasting and living legacy of forgiveness that will guide not only the Mother Emanuel AME Church but also the citizens of the City, the State of South Carolina and the nation."
He said the resolution also remembers five additional church members who survived the tragedy "so they will not be forgotten as we pay tribute to the fallen."
It all happened in the midst of state annual conference for the AME church. The districts attending make up a membership of more than 30 thousand people. Supporters joined together in song, words from its leadership, then tolled the bell 14 times, once for each victim, and then once for each survivor.
At 11:00 a.m. Thursday, Mayor Joe Riley plans to announce how money from the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund will be distributed to family members of the victims.
Nine members of the church were gunned down following a Bible study on June 17. The victims included the church's pastor and State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lance, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Rev. Daniel L. Simmons Sr., Rev. Sharonda Singleton and Rev. Myra Thompson.
Twenty-one-year-old Dylann Roof has been charged with their deaths.