From left, the Rev. Nathaniel Heyward and Valerie Shelby of the Clinton Memorial AME Zion Church in Greenport at Monday’s vigil. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo video and photos)
As Valerie Shelby looked at a crowd of about 200 people in Greenport on Monday night, she asked the group to name flowers.
After several different flowers were called out, Ms. Shelby started listing each color.
“Don’t you see?” she asked. “Together, they make a beautiful bouquet. We have to stop fighting each other.”
Ms. Shelby and Loretta Hatzel-Geraci, both of the Southold Town Anti-Bias Task Force, organized Monday’s candlelight vigil to express solidarity with the victims killed June 17 at a church in Charleston, S.C.
Clinton Memorial AME Zion Church in Greenport. (Credit: Paul Squire)
There will be a candlelight vigil held tonight, June 29, in Greenport to express solidarity with the victims killed June 17 in a Charleston church.
The vigil will start at 7 p.m. in the Clinton Memorial AME Zion Church, located at 614 Third St. in Greenport, and participants will then walk to the nearby Third Street Park.
All are invited to attend. Members of the faith community will be present, as well as poets that participate in Poetry Street, an open mic poetry session held at Blue Duck Bakery and Cafe in Riverhead.
[Related: Local church leaders react to Charleston shooting]
All the across the country, people are mourning and holding vigils like this one in Washington, D.C. A local vigil is planned for Monday in Greenport. (Photo by Stephen Melkisethian/flickr)
Lela Heyward received a phone call at midnight last Wednesday from her hometown of Charleston, S.C. She couldn’t believe the news.
Although her nephew didn’t belong to Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, he knew many people there and had just paid a visit the week before.
He called to say there had been a mass shooting at the historic black church and that he was devastated. The church’s pastor was among the dead.
Ms. Heyward, whose husband, the Rev. Nathaniel Heyward, is pastor at Clinton Memorial AME Zion Church in Greenport, said that although she grew up with segregation and left Charleston after high school in 1961, her hometown and its Baptist church have never left her heart.
“I went through the struggles — I had to go out the back door, drink from a separate water fountain and sit at the back of the bus,” she said Monday. “I never felt threatened in church. I always thought of it as a safe place. I’m really hurt and can’t believe it.”