Charleston pastor spoke the message of forgiveness

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By Cierra Mills
The Carolinian

Two years after the Charleston massacre at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, students and faculty filled the Hodge Center to hear Reverend Eric S.C. Manning speak of forgiveness.

Manning challenged Upstate to forgive and unite together in unity. “The first step in coming together in unity is to get to know someone and to be bold enough to understand their perspective.” Manning said his road to forgiveness didn’t come easily.

After his visual description of the tragic church shooting that claimed nine lives, Manning said that, “God has given me the strength to forgive.”

Manning said he was reminded of a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., quote, “There is more that unites us than divides us.”

Manning said his role was not of a pastor but a community leader who had a purpose of educating others how to “rise up, be bold, and take a stand for injustice and every other thing that is not right.”

The students should fight for justice because of our commonality, “We are all humans,“ Manning said.

Manning’s message, he said, was inspired by his own experience of hatred frequently being labeled as a black male.

Freshman Alicia Castle, who attended Manning’s presentation said, “We need each other and there is absolutely no room for hatred.”

Freshman Caleb Porter said, “If he can forgive, I’m inspired to forgive just about anything.”

Chancellor Dr. Brendan Kelly, welcomed Manning to campus. Dr. Warren Carson presented the invocation and a powerful performance from the USC Upstate Gospel Choir, led by Alphaeus Anderson in singing “Change the World.”

Photos by Erika Hollis and Cierra Mills