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Winthrop plans ‘Blue & White Friday’ gathering for Charleston shooting victims

RockHill

Winthrop University students and employees will join in a statewide effort Friday to honor the nine victims who were shot and killed last week at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church.

Through social media, thousands of people have organized to wear white and blue – the colors of South Carolina’s state flag – and display the state flag on their Facebook profiles. A Facebook page organizing the effort already has more than 35,000 people planning to join in. The page was created Saturday.

Winthrop officials say the school will participate in “Blue and White Friday,” holding an informal gathering at 9 a.m. on campus at the Little Chapel building. About 50 people plan to hold blue and white placards to form the shape of the Palmetto tree on the South Carolina flag.

At 9:09 a.m., Winthrop will sound nine chimes to remember the nine shooting victims.

Acting Winthrop President Debra Boyd, in a message to the campus about Friday’s gathering, said, “South Carolinians and, indeed, Americans everywhere have shown their true colors in the wake of the horrific murders in Charleston. Thrust onto the nation’s stage, the people of Charleston and our state have reacted in ways that reflect a heritage of strength, grace and forgiveness in the face of tragedy.”

On Friday, Winthrop will honor the “Emanuel 9” and “show solidarity with Americans everywhere who are determined to squash racist hate with resounding love,” Boyd said.

Boyd and several other South Carolina college and university presidents have said they support legislators removing the controversial Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds.

The flag should be put in a museum, Boyd said, “where the past is neither forgotten nor exalted, but used appropriately to educate. By moving the flag from the Statehouse grounds to a museum, we demonstrate our resolve to move forward, together, as a people and a state.”

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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