Measure would declare June 17 as ‘Mother Emanuel 9 Day’

Emanuel AME Church stands in the background as a mourner visits a sidewalk memorial in memory of the shooting victims Saturday, June 20, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. The current brick Gothic revival edifice, completed in 1891 to replace an earlier building heavily damaged in an earthquake, was a mandatory stop for the likes of Booker T. Washington and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Still, Emanuel was not just a church for the black community. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A resolution declaring June 17 as Mother Emanuel Nine Day to honor the victims gunned down in a Charleston church last summer is advancing in the Senate.

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the resolution Tuesday. It also encourages South Carolinians to reflect on race relations on the one-year anniversary of the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal, one of the nation’s oldest black churches.

Police say Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old white man charged with their murders, wanted to start a race war.

The resolution states the community instead “responded by an outpouring of love and unity.”

The House approved the resolution three weeks ago.

The victims included Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the church’s pastor.

Roof’s trial on state charges starts in July. The state is seeking the death penalty.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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