CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The current Charleston Southern University outfielder Chris Singleton, and son of Mother Emanuel AME victim Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, was presented with the Charleston RiverDogs Humanitarian Award at Saturday's game.
The award recognizes individuals who dedicate their time to fighting indifference, intolerance and social injustice and whose approaches and accomplishments are consistent with the club's goals and mission to better the Charleston community.
RiverDogs management said Singleton stood out to them immediately after the tragedy that happened last year.
"Chris was really the first one in front of a camera and his reaction kind of set the tone for the Charleston community," said Dave Echols, general manager for the Charleston RiverDogs.
Singleton, 20, was honored in the middle of the 2nd inning for his help in strengthening the Charleston community with his resolve in the face of tragedy following the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME June 17, 2015 that claimed the life of his mother.
Singleton addressed his teammates and coaches on the CSU baseball field the day after the shooting saying, "Love is always stronger than hate. If we'd just love the way my mom would, then the hate won't be anywhere close to what love is."
"That quote just pushes out all the hate from the community we live in today," said Sydney Ballard, a fan at the game. "So it is really important."
The recognition of Singleton will be part of the night's featured events showcasing the coming together of the Charleston community throughout the weekend.
Along with the team's recognition of Singleton, the RiverDogs also honored the Cannon Street All-Stars during the pre-game and tip their hats in reverence in a special salute to the Negro Leagues as part of a Larry Doby Weekend, presented by SC State University.
Doby was the second African American player to break the color barrier.
"I don't think we could have had a better marriage of a traditional major league ball player, and now an up and coming ball player," Echols said. "Chris fits that bill just perfect."
"When younger people see him going through what he's went through, and he's still getting ahead, he's striving to be better," said Harry Jordan, another fan. "Hopefully other kids will emulate that and follow his lead."
"It shows how strong he is," added Reagan Fix.
Following the game, 1,000 candles were lit to help showcase the power of one light in the Charleston community as part of the theme of unity this weekend.
Past recipients of the Charleston RiverDogs Humanitarian Award include: Robert Morrison (2009), Representative Wendell Gilliard (2010), Dr. Willis Ham (2011), and Theodore Lewis (2015).