“We Are Not Going To Allow This Symbol To Divide Us Any Longer” S.C. Gov Calls For Removal Of Confederate Flag
The death of nine innocent people at the historically Black Emanuel AME Church has caused such deep hurt for many in this country, that many people, Black, White and everyone in between, are working to find solutions to the racism that clearly fueled this attack.
When we learned of the shooting, late Wednesday night, people immediately began wondering if South Carolina, a state with 19 active hate groups but no hate crime laws; a state that flies the Confederate Flag from their State Capitol building would take a stand and remove the symbol that, for many Black people, is a symbol of hate.
Last week, we wrote that Governor Nikki Haley, the same woman who defended the flag late, last year, was also the same woman who shed tears during a press conference talking about the tragedy that took place at Emanuel AME Church.
People pointed out her hypocrisy.
Was it really any surprise that a racist attack of this nature would happen in a state where the government seems to take pride in racial oppression?
There was criticism and a few think pieces discussing the issue, all over the internet. Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney even tweeted against the state’s decision to fly the flag.
In response to all of this backlash, today, during a press conference, governor Nikki Haley announced:
“We are here in a moment of unity in our state, without ill will, to say it’s time to remove the flag from our capitol grounds.”
The room erupted in applause. (With the exception of Senator Lindsey Graham, who looked around exasperated and annoyed.)
Haley acknowledged that many South Carolinians take pride in the flag as it represents a particular heritage and history. But that doesn’t tell the full story. She continued: “For many others in South Carolina, the flag is a deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past.”
While Haley said that the flag can still be flown on an individual’s private property, featuring it on a government building sends a stronger message.
“But the state house is different. And the events of this past week call upon us to look at this in a different way.”
Haley said that the flag, for good or for bad, will always be a part of the state but does not represent the future of South Carolina.
“My hope is that by removing a symbol that divides us, we can move forward as a state in harmony and we can honor the nine blessed souls who are now in heaven.”
Haley said that though the general assembly have wrapped up their session, as governor she has the authority to call them back into session under extraordinary circumstances.
“I’ve indicated to the house and the senate that if they do not take measures to ensure this debate takes place this summer, I will use that authority for the purpose of the legislature removing the flag from the state house grounds.”
Despite this hot button issue, she asks that the country still focus on the nine victims and their families.
“But we are not going to allow this symbol to divide us any longer. The fact that people are choosing to use it as a sign of hate is something that we cannot stand. The fact that it causes pain to so many is enough to move it from the capitol grounds. It is, after all, a capitol that belongs to all of us.”
You can watch Governor Haley’s remarks on the Confederate Flag in the video below.