Angela Bassett Introduces Charleston Shooting Survivors At The Democratic National Convention
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

President Obama’s fired up speech at Wednesday night’s DNC session was unequivocally the highlight of the evening, but before he took to the stage, a few other familiar faces made appearances to start things off in memorable fashion.

Among those who addressed the crowd before the POTUS was none other than Hollywood veteran Angela Bassett. The regal actress was greeted with a roaring applause as she made her way to the podium to introduce two of the five survivors from the horrific Emmanuel AME Church shooting, where 21-year-old gunman Dylann Roof took the lives of nine African-American church members during a Wednesday night bible study session in Charleston, SC last June. “They were gathered to pray. He walked in an outsider, a stranger, and they welcomed him,” she told the silenced audience as she began her remarks. “But then, he opened fire. He stole their lives.” Bassett then went on to speak the names of those whose lives were cut short before emphasizing the importance of stricter gun laws and speak to the resilience of the Charleston community as survivors Felicia Sanders and Polly Sheppard made their way to the stage. “We say their names. But that is not enough, is it? Since the massacre at Charleston’s Emannuel AME Church, more lives have been destroyed by gun violence and hatred still threatens to tear us apart.”

Hear the full remarks from Angela Bassett, Felicia Sanders and Polly Sheppard in the video clip below.

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