CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - A walk for remembrance was held Friday in Conway to honor the Emanuel 9, who were killed one year ago Friday in a mass church shooting in Charleston. The Horry County Democratic Party met at the Conway Marina to remember the lives lost a year ago, as well as the recent lives lost in Orlando. With both attacks directed towards minority groups, the meeting was also meant to raise the question on why these attacks keep happening, and what communities around the country can do to stop them.
"I believe that there is something wrong with having horrendous acts happen around you and having good people sitting back and acting as if it's truly okay. We've allowed it to turn into a party issue." said Conway Mayor, Barbara Blain-Bellamy.
Blain-Bellamy says she is in full support of the Second Amendment, allowing Americans the right to bear arms. However, she believes our founding fathers could have never anticipated the caliber of weapons that could be placed in the hands of criminals.
"I believe that they even would have put safeguards in place to keep that would disallow unstable people, people with certain records, people who are suspicious for being apart of terrorists groups."
The group prayed together for the families of those affected by the recent mass shootings, but also voiced frustrations at the lack of legislation that might prevent these incidents from happening again.
"We cannot let the boundaries of party politics handicap our thoughts and our minds to the point where we cannot act in the best interest of the public. So my position as a disabled Vietnam veteran who has fought for the rights of others in a different country, is to make sure that we maintain the rights of the Second Amendment, but at the same time not do foolish things that lend itself to snuffing out the lives of others." said Vietnam Vet and Chairman of the Horry County Democratic Party, Benni Swans.
Students from CCU and local high schools also joined in the conversation.
"I think it's really important that young people come to these types of events because a lot of older people say they we're not as involved as we should be, and it's a very important issue that's going to effect our future too." said Carolina Forest High School student, Sage Short.
Students at the event say they've been moved by the countries stride for social equality. However, with the Emmanuel 9 and Orlando Shooting both being deemed hate crimes against minorities, they feel the recent trend has been one step forward, and two steps back.
"I feel like all of America is that. With every social stride we try to take, it's always going to be an uphill battle. We just have to learn to cope with it and try to make it better as the generations go." said CCU sophomore, Brittany Alford.