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Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (EAMEC) has selected Michael Arad, partner at Handel Architects of New York, NY, to create a permanent memorial at the church to honor the nine victims of the June 17, 2015 tragedy, the survivors, and members of the church. Arad is best known for designing the National September 11 Memorial in New York City.

The project is guided by an executive committee comprised of Mother Emanuel leadership and community leaders. A design build committee of local art, design and history professionals was also established to create a collaborative vision for the memorial.

“This memorial on the grounds of the church will help keep the memory of the Emanuel 9 alive and honor the resilience of the families, survivors and church members,” said Reverend Eric S.C. Manning, pastor of Mother Emanuel.

Michael Arad is an Israeli-American architect who was chosen from more than 5,000 applicants to design the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center location in 2003. “Michael Arad’s design for the September 11 Memorial expresses both the devastating loss of life, while also expressing peace, comfort and hope,” said Reverend Manning. “His ability to symbolize these conflicting feelings to create a very moving memorial was a compelling qualification for the task of the Emanuel AME Memorial. It is our hope that his work on our memorial will evoke the weight of the tragedy as well as send an inspiring mandate for positive change to the world.”

“Being asked to design this memorial is a humbling and tremendous responsibility,” said Arad. “I will do my utmost to honor the memory of the deceased and give voice to the injured, the grieving families, and the community. If we are able to shine a light on the beauty, resiliency and love that was shown by members of this congregation and the community of Charleston, we will succeed in showing the best of humankind in the wake of the worst. I look forward to engaging in a collaborative design process with hope and humility.”

“The victims of the Emanuel AME Church shooting will not be forgotten,” said John Darby, CEO of The Beach Company, Co-Chair of the Memorial Executive Committee. “Their families’ and the church’s response to this tragic event has already materially changed the conversation about racism. They put faith and love above hatred, and the message inspired people across the globe. We are here to support their mission working side by side to help facilitate a memorial to promote the eradication of racism.”

For more information on Mother Emanuel AME Church, visit

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