CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Monday marks 4 years since a young man opened fire at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, killing 9 parishioners that were at a Bible study.
This week there will be services, memorials, and events to honor those that lost their lives. One of those that will be in attendance is former North Carolina State Senator Malcolm Graham.
“When I go down there, there is always a big hole and missing piece and that is Cynthia,” said Graham. “Anytime I would visit, I would stay with Cynthia. Cynthia was my big sister and also a mother figure to me.”
Grahams sister, Cynthia Graham Hurd, was killed in the shooting. Every anniversary is difficult for her family, especially since her birthday is June 21.
“Those emotional feelings of anger, frustration, disappointment set in,” said Graham. “It didn’t matter who she was, what she did, what her background was. All that mattered is that she was there and she was black.”
Graham says one of the positives from the event is the fact that it highlighted the lives of those that were killed. The Cynthia Graham Hurd Foundation for Reading and Civic Engagement was established to engage the community and encourage reading by our youth. For more information on the Foundation you can click here.
However, Graham says a huge disappointment is the lack of change he has seen since that shooting.
“I guessed in terms of what happened is, nothing has changed right? In terms of gun violence and hatred and racism,” said Graham.
He points to shooting like the one at a Pittsburgh Synagogue and Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.
Graham says he and his family as well as the families of the other victims will continue to work to make a difference.
“Tears will get you sympathy but sweat will get you change," said Graham. “So, Cynthia, I am down here sweating to try and change our nation.”