Citizens across the US have been urging lawmakers in South Carolina to “take down the confederate flag—now” with more impassioned insistence than ever since the June 17 murders of nine black church-goers in Charleston. The victims were killed by a white supremacist who waved the confederate flag, a symbol of the southern US states during the Civil War.
The confederate flag has been displayed on the grounds of South Carolina’s statehouse for decades, though it hasn’t flown beside the American flag and the South Carolina state flag since 2000, when lawmakers agreed to move it from the top of the capitol building’s dome and place it on the lawn in front of the building, where it was legally required to stay.
Today (June 22), South Carolina governor Nikki Haley held a press conference to announce that, like many other American politicians, she thinks this should change. But unlike many other American politicians, she is uniquely positioned to effect the desired change–she can force her state’s legislature to debate and resolve the issue before the end of the summer.
“The flag will always be part of the soil of South Carolina,” said Haley. “My hope is that by removing a symbol that divides us, we can move forward in harmony.”
Acknowledging that the flag offends many South Carolina residents while simultaneously representing positive things to many others, Haley defended the feelings of the latter, which she said are not rooted in hate or racism. “The hate-filled murderer has a sick and twisted view of the flag,” she said.
“For those who wish to display the flag on private property,” she said, “no one will stand in your way, but the state house is different.”