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AME holds service, vigil in memory of Charleston shooting victims

By Tom Momberg

The Greater Allen AME Cathedral in Jamaica held a Saturday service to remember the nine victims of the bible study massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. Wednesday, followed by a march of hundreds of people to St. Albans Park for a vigil.

AME pastors from around New York joined Rev. Floyd Flake and city leaders to pray for the families of the victims and reflect on the tragedy.

As the South Carolina church re-opened for services over the weekend, Flake said the strength shown by the people there can guide the rest of the country to rise above hate, and not give in to the terror one man tried to create.

“For many of us whose opinions are waffling, we are trying to determine what this is really all about. …but look into the mind of a people who come to a prayer meeting every week, and still can stand strong with what has happened,” Flake said. “These people did not show anger, but they talked about it in their relationship with god.”

Among those in attendance were Mayor Bill de Blasio, state Sen. James Sanders (D-Ozone Park), state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-Hollis), city Comptroller Scott Stringer and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

De Blasio said the Charleston shooting should convince the country to impose tougher restrictions on guns.

“Brothers and sisters, this was an act of domestic terrorism,” de Blasio said during the vigil in the park. “This is a moment of reckoning. Now it is our time to say, this is that ‘never-again’ moment.”

Stringer said the country and the city should now consider if security needs to be increased at houses of worship, as it has been for schools and government buildings.

Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomberg@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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