The Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. has received more than $3 million in donations since nine people were shot down inside of its walls. $1.5 million of that money was given to the families of the late victims. However, some have concerns about the distribution process.
Because much of the money the church received didn’t have a specified recipient, the decision of how to divide and distribute it was ultimately the church’s responsibility. As a result, the church chose to keep $1.8 million for itself to devote to future repairs and establishing an endowment, memorial and scholarships.
According to South Carolina State Sen. Gerald Malloy, his client, the widow of the late Rev. Clementa Pinckney, hasn’t even received any funds from the donations as of yet, according to the Post and Courier.
The reason that the distribution of the donations had been held off this long in the first place was because the church was in the middle of a lawsuit from the husband of victim Cynthia Graham who was attempting to get a detailed account of the church’s donations. The case was dismissed.
While others have received their checks, they still have concerns over the church’s choices. Arthur Hurd claimed that he watched three women at the church open envelopes addressed to specific victims’ families and removing the money. He received $50,000 from the church, which is less than he expected. He was also skeptical because there was no attached explanation of why he received the funds he did.
“I feel like it says, ‘Take this and shut up,’ ” Hurd said.
But, on the contrary, some of the victim’s families received a piece of certified mail with their checks and a letter from the church.
“This sum represents the distribution to you of a percentage of the total amount of funds, calculated upon the basis of the number of immediate family members of the Emanuel 9 victims and survivors,” the form letter reportedly said.
Money and the distribution have a habit of complicating things. Hopefully the dust settles on this situation soon and both the families and the church will be able to move on from the tragedy they experienced.
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