Tampa holds prayer vigil for Charleston church shooting victims

Members of 40 Christian denominations filed passed the names of nine dead Charleston churchgoers to pray those nine would be the last to die in church.

"Forgiveness and love remain the only way for us to live and to be together," State Rep. Ed Narain (D-Tampa) said from the dais.

Even from the back of the room, the words were clear.

"No amount of guns can defeat us!" said Judge Joe Mathis, a nationally renowned TV show host. "Now it is time to get on our marching shoes again."

The urge was to march for racial justice, elusive for so long, for so many.

"Our job, not just as mayors, but as citizens, is to look evil in the face, and say, 'not on my watch'," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Many said the same thing Tuesday night.

"White people can be aware and get over denial," said Rev. Doak Mansfield of the Unitarian Church of Tampa.

"I'm praying for unity; I am praying that people take ownership of it as if it's their own relative," said Ashley Williams, a parishioner from Tampa.

The filling of a house of worship - one of Tampa's historically black houses of worship - spoke to the resiliency of a people who have seen violence strike church long before last week.

"We have won everything we have ever fought for," said Mathis.

Many applauded the immediate backlash of politicians and chain stores against the Confederate flag.

The battles of racial injustice have been fought in churches, and also led by them.

"This battle is not over," said Narain. "It is a tough battle that we have to fight in the hearts of men- street by street, city by city, state by state -until the love of God is seen throughout this nation."

Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced that the City of Tampa made a memorial to the Charleston victims that will be delivered to Charleston this week.