Wanting to remember the victims of gun violence and promote unity in times of peace, a local pastor is organizing the fifth annual Overcoming Hate with Love community service set for Monday.

The Rev. Edward Palmer, co-pastor of Sign of the Dove Church, said the event first began in 2015, following a Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting where white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine African Americans at a church. He was convicted in 2017 and sentenced to death.

“That alone with some other events prompted me to be proactive here in our community by not responding and reacting to some polarizing event, to get together and recognize that love overpowers hate,” Palmer said.

The program is set to begin at 6 p.m. at the Sign of the Dove Church at 1189 Sunset Drive in Radcliff. Palmer said the event includes music, a candlelight ceremony, a video presenting the aftermath of the Charleston church shooting and a speech by him. This year, the event will recognize victims of the May 31 Virginia Beach shooting.

An educator in the Hardin County school district also will be given a Peacemaker award, Palmer said. The annual award is for residents who made contributions to the community.

Palmer said the power of a community can be ne­g­­lected until a tragedy hap­pens and hosting e­vents that focus on pro­mo­ting unity in times of tranquility can be benefi­cial.

“I see a lot of communities, neighbors are no longer neighbors after some of these events. People take sides and communities are divided,” he said. “We don’t have to wait until something happens in our community to have these kinds of vigils and these kind of gatherings to celebrate unity.”

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