Charleston vigil attendants hopeful they can 'overcome' hate

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Hundreds of people attended a vigil Thursday in honor of the nine people shot to death at the Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston.Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, Gov. Nikki Haley and Rep. James Clyburn spoke to the packed sanctuary at Morris Brown AME Church."I've gone through a wave of emotions, from sadness to anger," Haley said.

"Less than 24 hours ago, our hearts were broken," Riley said.

But the officials and clergy who spoke said one gunman would not represent an entire state and its people."This community is going through our grieving and heartbreak," Riley said. "Through our love of those family members surviving, we're going to show in Mother Emanuel and in this community and in our state that we, through love, can rebuild lives."Rev. John Richard Bryant spoke to the congregation about diversity

"I haven't seen a room that looked like this room in a long time," he said.He called for tougher gun laws and encouraged people to speak up against hate.U.S. Rep. James Clyburn spoke about the importance of the history and the strength{}of the black church. He said he remembered the{}period{}when people burned black churches across the state. Clyburn also had a message for suspect Dylann Roof."You're wasting your time. Join us. Do good. Help us bring this community together and this great nation of ours together," he said.Those in attendance held hands and sang "We shall overcome."J. Denise Cromwell, who is African American, said the vigil made her more optimistic for race relations in the future.

"After this very powerful vigil I am convinced and I will start with myself. I will heal. I will love my sisters, my brothers, I don't care what color they are," Cromwell said.

Maeve Smith agreed with Cromwell's hopeful sentiment.

"I have full confidence in the ways we're gathering together, we will move on from here," Smith said.