The world took notice of Mother Emanuel AME following the tragic events of last June’s shooting and the display of strength shown by the families of the victims, the survivors, and the community as a whole. Now the church stands as one of this year’s nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize, an international honor with past winners including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela.
The Peace Prize was the last of five honors mentioned by Alfred Nobel in his will, declaring that the prize be awarded to those who have done the most for the holding and promotion of peace. And after the response to the tragedies of this past year, Mother Emanuel may be recognized for doing just that.
The nomination process for the Charleston church was spearheaded by the officials and clergy that represent the Thorton Township in Illinois. The group visited Charleston after the shooting. They originally intended to nominate the entire city, but ultimately opted to focus their efforts on the church.
The group quickly launched an online petition to rally support for the nomination, writing, “In some other city, an incident of such hatred and racist horror might have sparked an outpouring of anger, violence, and divisiveness — driving crowds into the streets in clashes with each other and police. Instead, something unexpected happened — an outpouring of unity and forgiveness.”
Feb. 1 was the deadline for final nominations. In past years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has received close to 200 entries. The five judges will now prepare a short list of nominees, and laureates will be announced in October followed by an award ceremony on Dec. 10 in Oslo, Norway.