It's been 5 years since then 21-year-old Dylann Roof opened fire and killed 9 people hosting a Bible study group

By Ale Russian
June 16, 2020 02:33 PM
Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty; Jerod Harris/FilmMagic

The fifth anniversary of the tragic Charleston church shooting by a confessed white supremacist will be marked with a discussion about racial injustice.

A live discussion will be held Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT on Facebook Live by the people behind the documentary Emanuel, including Viola Davis and Mariska Hargitay.

On June 17, 2015, then 21-year-old Dylann Roof walked into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historically black church affectionately called Mother Emanuel, and opened fire on a Bible study group and all inside. He killed 9 people and has been sentenced to death.

To commemorate the anniversary, and discuss the current movement for racial justice, the discussion will be broadcasted live and moderated by Emanuel documentary producer, Pastor and activist Dimas Salaberrios. Also speaking will be Davis, who served as executive producer, and Hargitay, who served as producer. Rep. James E. Clyburn, the House Majority Whip, will also take part.

Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina
| Credit: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty

The movie Emanuel explores the horrific event in the historical context of race relations in the southern port city that served as a gateway to the African slave trade. It also features the family of the victims and some who were present at the shooting and survived.

Nadine Collier, the daughter of one of the victims, previously spoke to PEOPLE about her immediate forgiveness of Roof when he appeared in court two days later. She told PEOPLE she found inspiration in the voice of her mother, victim Ethel Lance, who in her retirement had taken over custodial shifts at the church from another daughter who was ailing. Lance, 70, was attending the Bible study when she was killed.

In the courtroom with other victims' family members at Roof’s bond hearing two days after the attack, Collier rose and heard her mother’s voice telling her, “Nadine, don’t say anything wrong, don’t say anything bad, believe in God,” she said.

“Something just came over me,” she told PEOPLE. “The anger … I have to let it go … I have to let my heart be free.”

“I said to him, ‘You have taken something very precious away from me and you have hurt a lot of people,’ and I said, ‘I won’t be able to talk to my mom no more, I won’t be able to hold her no more.’ But I said, ‘God forgives you, and I forgive you.'”