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Editorial: Sen. Pinckney building adds to legacy

Jasper County has the opportunity again to join together in honor of Sen. Clementa Pinckney.

At 2 p.m. Friday, Jasper County Council will hold a ceremony to mark the naming of the Jasper County Clementa C. Pinckney Government Building.

After Pinckney’s death in the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston June 17, 2015, the county rallied in support of his family and his memory.

Vigils were held and the county mourned together. Time has passed, but the memories remain seared in our minds.

A day rarely passes without a thought to the slayings of the Emanuel Nine and the ensuing days of pain.

“It was devastating,” Jasper County Council Chairman Marty Sauls said.

But the tragedy brought goodwill. Dylann Roof, who in December was convicted of all 33 federal charges in the shootings, planned to start a battle among races, but instead harmony prevailed.

As much as Sauls remembers the hurt, he fondly recalls the unity.

“I know that Clementa was looking down at his homeland and the reaction of the public, the way we came together in peace,” Sauls said. “That’s God working miracles. Evil did not prevail. (Roof) wanted to create a race war, but what happened was the opposite.”

County Council invites the public for another day of togetherness. Congressman Jim Clyburn and Pinckney’s family plans to be at Friday’s event.

Pinckney’s widow, Jennifer, is set to speak.

We are truly grateful she’s offered to give a few words.

Sauls believes the government building is the county’s most prominent structure and the ceremony will give proper respect to Pinckney and his family.

“My hope is that the naming of this building will contribute to the legacy that Sen. Pinckney created throughout his lifetime,” Sauls said.

Pinckney was a Ridgeland native and a two-time student body president at Jasper County High School, where he graduated in 1991.

He preached at St. John AME Church in Ridgeland. Pinckney went on to serve at the Statehouse in Columbia and was the pastor at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, but his roots were grounded in Jasper County.

Naming the government building in his honor will forever hold firm Pinckney’s name in his home county.

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