Emanuel shows us the power of forgiveness

By Michael Hernandez 

Simi Valley (Studio Movie Grill) and Thousand Oaks (AMC 14) moviegoers to Emanuel will see the power of forgiveness by the families of the survivors of June 17, 2015 church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina that killed nine worshippers during the Wednesday Bible study at the 203-year-old Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

On that date, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, driven by racial hatred, opened fire and executed nine people that had welcomed him to their Bible study including the pastor, State Senator Clementa C. Pinckney.

While Emanuel begins by recounting how Charleston, South Carolina was the home of the slave trade in the South—with 40 percent of all slaves marketed in the city—it moves into the stories of the victim families and how they have dealt with the tragedy.

But the message of the movie is depicted by the courtroom scene in which the families share (48 hours after the shooting) their forgiveness to Roof, who still remains unrepentant.  Another touching scene is the eulogy given by President Barack Obama at the church.

Stephen Curry, Viola Davis, Erick Peyton, David Segel are executive producers of the 74 minute documentary written by Brian Ivie (a Christian filmmaker and graduate from the University of Southern California film school) and filmed by Daniel Stewart and edited by Jonathan Cipiti.  The producers of the film have directed that proceeds from the film will go to the victim families.

 “The documentary highlights how a horrible tragedy can bring a community together, and spreads an important message about the power of forgiveness,” said Curry. “We, along with the country, grieved each family’s loss,” added Davis.  “Yet, miraculously, from this devastation we witnessed tremendous benchmarks of humanity. The survivors found courage to love in the face of hate.”

The documentary opens in theaters nationwide for a limited run through Fathom Events and will be seen one more time on June 19.  The film was made in direct partnership with the City of Charleston and the families affected by the tragedy. For ticket information go to:  https://www.fathomevents.com/events/emanuel-2019.

Hollywood stars including: Justin Timberlake, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, LaLaverne Cox and LL Cool J are buying out entire theaters for screenings of Emanuel in nine theaters and giving tickets to local organizations and communities  including churches.

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service, founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor.  He has worked 25 years as a middle school teacher.   Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].

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