We Are Charleston, Tragedy and Triumph


It is heartbreaking to mark the one year anniversary of the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church with the massacre that occurred in Orlando. Another hate crime, another mass shooting with a military assault weapon. Our hearts are so heavy, and there is so much work to do…..

On June 14th, our book We Are Charleston, Tragedy and Triumph was released – a book that quite frankly we wish we hadn’t had to write. In Charleston, we have been transformed by the truth that love is stronger than hate, and we hope our book helps others understand the wisdom the Mother Emanuel families have given to the world.

We also hope that our story explains the deep wounds of racism that have existed in America since the very beginning.

Writing at its best is redemptive, and from the get-go my co-writers Herb Frazier, Dr. Bernie Powers and I believed it was something we could do together. During the harrowing days and weeks following the shooting just about everyone wanted to do something to help – from handing out water at prayer vigils to writing a check to help the families pay for the funerals. Writing a book was something we could do.

Ultimately I wrote this book because my heart was broken, like so many others here. I wanted to bring meaning to something unfathomable. Since I strongly believe that to be a writer in South Carolina and not write about the African American experience is to not really be here at all.

As poet laureate of the state, my ultimate responsibility is to articulate what it means to be a South Carolinian. We Are Charleston embodies all these aspects of my writing life, and I hope I have done this story justice.

Many of you have asked about events and book signings, which I am attaching as well.

We are doing lots of interviews, of course.

A few weeks ago, PBS NewsHour came to town and filmed me and my friend Marcus Amaker reading the poems we created in the aftermath of the church shooting.

What a sad irony that this story “Seeking solace in poetry after a mass shooting” appeared this week.

Please keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for up-dates. Marcus keeps my website up-to-date: www.marjorywentworth.net.

Love and light to all,

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