The University of South Carolina is doing what it can to honor the nine precious lives that were lost earlier this year in the mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.
According to Athletics Director Ray Tanner, the Gamecocks will wear special decals on their helmets to honor the victims.
“Whether it’s Greenville, Columbia, Charleston or any other cities in South Carolina, we feel a tremendous sense of pride in this state,” Athletics Director Ray Tanner said (h/t wistv.com). “The tragedy that happened in Charleston doesn’t just affect people in Charleston; it affects the entire state. We feel very much a part of that at the university. Coach Steve Spurrier and University President Harris Pastides felt very strongly that the ‘Emanuel 9’ should be recognized.”
The decal, crafted by Gil Shuler of Mount Pleasant, will feature a Palmetto tree with nine doves shaped around it, representing the nine people whose lives were snuffed out in the massacre: Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Clementa C. Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson.
“The day after the tragedy, I just felt like I wanted to do something to make me feel better anyway,” Shuler said of the original design. “I came up with something and posted it on my blog. From there it sort of took off. My family goes back multiple generations in South Carolina, and I’ve run my business for 30 years in Charleston. I know tons of people here. When that tragedy happened, it just hurt the whole community – me, included.”
The sticker will not be sold by the University, and Shuler has asked that any businesses interested in purchasing his copyrighted design send the proceeds to the Emanuel Church in Charleston, per the report.