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6 Years After Sister's Death In Charleston Shooting, Her Memory Is With Him 'Every Day'

Malcolm Graham_Beatties Ford Road.jpg
Sarah Delia
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Charlotte City Council member Malcolm Graham says his sister's memory is with him "every day of the week."

Malcolm Graham stood near Beatties Ford Road in west Charlotte earlier this week when he talked about how he will spend Thursday. It is the six-year anniversary of a mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. His sister, Cynthia Graham Hurd, was one of nine parishioners murdered in the shooting by a white supremacist.

Graham says he will be in Charleston with family and friends remembering how his sister lived, not how she died.

Part of that, he says, is working on behalf of the Cynthia Graham Hurd Foundation to help run a book drive in Charleston. Cynthia was a longtime librarian at the Charleston County Public Library.

"And we’ll redistribute those books to day care programs, after-school programs, summer reading programs, (to) children who need them," Graham said.

Graham describes his sister as personable, candid, and family-oriented. She had a passion for social justice, Graham said.

"I think she would say if she was here today that what happened to her and eight others was not an attack on them, but an attack on a race of people," Graham said.

No matter how many years go by, Graham says, she is always on his mind.

"The memory of her — and what happened to her and eight others — lives with me every day of the week," Graham said.

Cynthia’s birthday is also coming up on June 21. Graham says it’s another opportunity for the family to remember and celebrate, which is what she would have wanted them to do.

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Sarah Delia covers criminal justice and the arts for WFAE. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.