New Video Captures UAB's Stand in Unity Candlelight Vigil for Charleston

On June 24, 2015, one week to the day after the shootings in Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., UAB hosted Stand in Unity, a candlelight vigil to honor the nine victims.
Stand in Unity vigilCarlon Alexander Harris lights a candle during a memorial vigil for Charleston, Wednesday, June 24, 2015 in the John S. (Jay) Jemison III Art Plaza at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts. (Photo by Jared Ragland)On June 24, 2015, one week to the day after the shootings in Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., UAB hosted Stand in Unity, a candlelight vigil to honor the nine victims. The idea for the vigil came from Doug Barrett, Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History, who had heard his students speak of their pain, grief and confusion after hearing the news of the shooting. He suggested a community gathering at which students, faculty, staff and community members could share their feelings and honor those who had lost their lives.

Barrett, as well as Dr. Kathryn Morgan, Director of the African American Studies program; Jared Ragland in the Department of Art and Art History; and Lisa Becker, Director of the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts (AEIVA); planned a program at AEIVA that featured nine undergraduates who spoke about each victim and lit a candle in their honor. Dr. Morgan gave remarks and Dr. Paul Mosteller, Professor in the Department of Music, sang "Amazing Grace." The Rev. Mashod Evans, pastor of St. John A.M.E. Church in Birmingham, prayed and shared words of encouragement.

After lighting their own candles from those honoring the nine victims, the crowd then extinguished their lights and signed the guest book. At the conclusion of the event, everyone was invited to tour the "The Freedom Exhibition: Two Countries One Struggle," the exhibit presented by the City of Birmingham in partnership with AEIVA. The exhibit featured the photojournalism of Spider Martin, who documented the Civil Rights movement in Alabama, and Peter Magubane, who highlighted the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. 

"It is important that we listen to our students and respond to their needs, and I am proud of the work of my colleagues," says Dr. Robert E. Palazzo, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "Stand in Unity is an example of the meaningful collaborations that happen every day at UAB, as well as how people from diverse backgrounds can share experiences that foster community and mutual understanding. Our departments, programs and institutes, including the Institute for Human Rights, are here to serve our campus and city and provide ways to learn from each other about what it means to be human."

This video presentation features photographs by Jared Ragland and video by Jared Bash of UAB Digital Media