Son of 2015 Charleston shooting victim continues to inspire with message of love, forgiveness
Chris Singleton, whose mother was a victim of the tragic 2015 shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, said he believes God used him to help keep the city “glued together.”
"When this happened to me and my family, my faith level grew by a thousand.”
His mother, Sharonda Coleman Singleton, was murdered along with eight other victims at the church on June 17th, 2015 by a white male who wanted to start a race-related war in the United States.
Just 24 hours after the shooting, Singleton inspired the city and the nation by forgiving the man who murdered his mother, stating on national television, “Love is stronger than hate.”
At the time of the shooting, he was a student and baseball player at Charleston Southern University. He went on to be drafted by the Chicago Cubs and now serves as an inspirational speaker and Director of Community Relations for the Charleston Riverdogs minor league baseball club.
In an interview for the Freedom Media Network, Curt Mercadante asked Singleton how he found the strength to publicly forgive his mother’s murderer.
“Nobody's prepared for what happened to me and my family, but I will say this: I was groomed in the church, I was groomed as a believer, but I didn't really have a personal relationship with God. I figured God was something out there. I didn't know who God was, or what he did,” explained Singleton. “But when this happened to me and my family, my faith level grew by a thousand.”
He added, “I think in situations like what happened to me, it was like, if this happens to you and your family in a church, you can think two ways: You can think there's no way there's a God if this happens, or you can say, God, I don't know how this happened, but I need you to get me through it. I put everything I had into God, and said, ‘Hey, I need help. Can you push me through this?’ And, that's when I would say the forgiveness came.”
Singleton said he found meaning in the aftermath of the tragedy.
“I do think that God used me in that moment to keep our city glued together and to stop different things from happening in the aftermath,” he said, adding that he’s found purpose in helping to inspire others.
“I definitely believe that after what's happened to me, and what's happened to our family, using that to help people get through their toughest battles and their storms is the reason why I've been put on this earth,” he said. “I truly and wholeheartedly believe that, and even in times like this with COVID-19, I try to be inspirational, because this is a little bit different for me. Like, when this happens to other people, it may be like the end of the world, but for me I'm saying, you know what? I've been through things, and I know that we're going to get through this, so I kind of have a different outlook on life, and I definitely try to share that with people I come in contact with.”
As Singleton is inspiring audiences across the country, does he still have moments of sadness?
“If you don't have those moments, then you're not human,” he said. “Still to this day I get sad that my mom's not here. I get sad that my dad's not here, and I've got a 2-year-old son that won't get to see his grandmother, so I definitely feel that every single day. So for somebody to come up here, and say that those moments don't happen, then they'd be lying or they're a robot. I definitely have those moments, but one thing about me is I don't let those moments stop me from pursuing things in my life.”
How did Singleton find the strength to continue his baseball career, taking it all the way to the Chicago Cubs organization?
“First and foremost, I dedicated the rest of my college career to my late mother, and then, my junior year, my late father. I always had that motivation, but I don't think it stops there,” he explained. “With me personally, I use individual moments that were tough for me, that pushed me, whether it was in the weight room, or whether it was when I was training. I've used these individual moments to help guide me through the tough times.
“So let's say I'm struggling playing my sport. I would use one of those moments where I said, you know what? I'm going to dedicate this to my mom, and saying that to myself out loud would actually propel me to keep working hard.”
Watch Mercadante’s full conversation with Singleton by clicking here.