AME Church

Community Partners

Nine community partners provide grant-funded services in the Mother Emanuel Community Resiliency Project. These partners are in no particular order, as each is essential to the project. Below is a brief description of each community partner and key staff on the project at each site. For more information on each community partner, please visit their individual websites. In addition to these nine grant-funded partners, there are several other collaborating agencies that also provide valuable services.

This grant funded program was awarded to the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center (NCVC). The NCVC is a division within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina. The NCVC was established in 1977 and has achieved an international reputation for its innovative research, education and training, evidence-based mental health treatment, prevention services, collaboration with victim service agencies, and consultation with public policy makers.

Our mission is to advance scientific and public understanding of the scope, nature, and mental health impact of exposure to crime and other traumatic events and to improve the mental health of victims of crime and other traumatic events through research, education, prevention, treatment, public policy consultation, and collaboration. The NCVC also provides specialized mental health services to victims of crime and other traumatic events. Learn more about the work of NCVC.

This agency organized the application of the grant funding this community-based effort and organizes the grant-related activity. The NCVC has also provided support and mental health services to numerous individuals and families affected by the massacre beginning the day after it happened and on a continuous basis.

About the church: Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church is the oldest AME church in the south. It is referred to as "Mother Emanuel,” and has one of the largest and oldest black congregations south of Baltimore, Maryland. The current pastor of "Mother Emanuel" is The Rev. Eric S. C. Manning. In 1787, Richard Allen and others of African descent withdrew from St. George's Methodist Church in Philadelphia because of unkind treatment and restrictions placed upon the worshipers of African descent. After Allen left St. George's Methodist Church, he and his followers purchased a blacksmith shop for thirty-five dollars. From the blacksmith shop they worshipped and helped the sick and the poor. The blacksmith shop was converted into a church. They called the new church Bethel. In 1816 Allen called together sixteen representatives from Bethel African Church in Philadelphia and African churches in Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey to meet in Philadelphia, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized. Richard Allen was the first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

About the Mother Manuel Empowerment Center (MEEC): The Mother Emanuel AME Church is has developed an empowerment center to meet the crime-related needs of the congregation, victim and survivors of the massacre and their family members. The Center will serve as a central resource hub to connect those impacted by the Emanuel AME church massacre to a wide range of services designed to assist them in their recovery and to provide a gathering place that facilitates their connection to each other. The Center is physically housed on the campus of the church but will be a collaborative effort of the NCVC, CDMHC, and Mother Emanuel AME in the provision of services. This Center will provide a gathering place that includes therapy and support group rooms, space for the victim navigator, and space for the Emanuel AME Church ministry members who are involved with coordination and navigation of the crime-related needs of the congregation. The Center will also include a small technology assistance program to help those impacted by the massacre who wish to learn more about computer or smart phone access to the Internet so they can take advantage of the online materials that are being developed for this project.

The City of Charleston Police Department had primary law enforcement jurisdiction over this crime initially and provided a number of victim related law enforcement services during the days and weeks after the massacre, which included death notifications, security at memorial services and funerals, as well as crime scene cleanup. A number of law enforcement officers and victim advocates worked overtime to cover the demand for these additional duties. Law enforcement continues to provide coverage of services related to security and victim advocacy at memorials and other large community resiliency building events related to the massacre as well as advocacy and support during court proceedings.

The Charleston County Coroner’s Office provided services to the victims including autopsies and transportation of the victims.

Charleston County Clerk of Court will assist with victim-witness assistance as they coordinate notification of various court proceedings associated with the prosecution of the defendant on State charges. This agency will also provide an auxiliary courtroom in which the victims and families can view the trial and other judicial proceedings via closed-circuit television.

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) had significant involvement in the initial response to the scene both in regards to providing security for victims, survivors, and the Emanuel AME church congregation to assisting with victim advocacy and crisis intervention. The CCSO was the main jurisdiction responsible for providing victim escort and security at all funerals, viewings, and several memorials and will assist with advocacy and support during court proceedings. The CCSO has the responsibility for providing security at the Charleston County Courthouse where the State trial and other legal proceedings will be held.

This office is responsible for prosecuting the defendant on State charges and providing related victim-witness services. This office is headed by Scarlett A. Wilson.

With two clinics and more than 200 staff, the Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center (CDMHC) is one of the most innovative, diverse, and skilled treatment centers in the state of South Carolina. The CDMHC, established in 1947, is one of 17 Centers operated by the South Carolina Department of Mental Health. CDMHC is a healthcare organization committed to providing mental health services to the residents of Charleston and Dorchester Counties. Both clinics (Dorchester and Charleston) are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). This agency has provided support and mental health services to numerous individuals and families affected by the massacre beginning the day after it happened and on a continuous basis. They have provided clinical support during memorials, resiliency events, church events, and court proceedings and are a collaborating partner running the MEEC.

Community Mental Health Center is a CARF accredited outpatient facility of the SC Department of Mental Health. BCMHC has psychiatrists, nurses, and counselors, who provide clinical services, as well as admin staff who support them. The Berkeley Community Health Center provides emergency services, case management, outpatient counseling and psychiatric treatment for children, adolescents, adults, and families in Berkeley County.

The students and families of Goose Creek High School lost a beloved teacher, coach and role model in the massacre at Emanuel AME Church. Berkeley Community Mental Health Center has assigned a full-time Master’s level Mental Health Counselor to Goose Creek High School to provide an array of outpatient services to students and their families. The counselor delivers general information to students and families about grief, and bereavement associated with traumatic loss in diverse venues and events at the school and surrounding community. Therapy services include individual, group, and family services based on needs of the identified student.

Berkeley Community Health Center has a part-time Master’s level Mental Health Counselor embedded with Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center to aide in the recovery and support to Berkeley County citizens affected by the massacre at Mother Emanuel AME Church. The counselor delivers general information to individual and families about grief, and bereavement associated with traumatic loss in diverse venues and events in the community. Therapy services include individual, group, and family services based on needs of the individual.

Other Community Partners

The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina has offices in Columbia, Greenville, Florence and Charleston. Beth Drake currently serves as the Acting United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina. The U.S. Attorney’s Office represents the interests of the United States in civil, criminal and appellate litigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office receives civil and criminal referrals from federal agencies and law enforcement, which the U.S. Attorney reviews in deciding whether to bring or defend an action. This office was responsible for the prosecution of federal hate crime charges and for providing victim witness support to victims and families starting immediately after the crime occurred.

As a vital partner in the FBI’s response to crime, Victim Specialists work directly with FBI Special Agents and serve as the critical link to ensuring that victims of crimes investigated by the FBI are provided their legal rights, critical support, services and resources. Victim Specialists have been on hand to assist with advocacy and support during memorials, resiliency events, and court proceedings.

The SOVA will assist eligible crime victims and their families in putting the pieces of their lives back together through crime victim compensation services. SOVA will also provide training regarding its services to victims, law enforcement, agencies, crime victims advocates, and the public. After the massacre, SOVA sent a team to Charleston to inform family members about crime victim compensation and to assist them in filling out compensation applications.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) mission is to protect and serve the public with the highest standard of conduct and professionalism; to save lives through educating its citizens on highway safety and diligent enforcement of laws governing traffic, motor vehicles, and commercial carriers; and to ensure a safe, secure environment for the citizens of the state of South Carolina and its visitors. SCDPS is also the agency that currently administers the Office for Victims of Crime-funded Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) grant program that provides grants to victim service agencies. A representative from the VOCA grant program serves as a member of the project Victim Services Coordinating Council.