June 22

Governor Nikki Haley: It’s time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds”

One week ago, America heard yet another horror story that caused people around the nation to grieve for nine innocent lives taken from an act of hatred. Dylan Roof walked into a Bible Study at one of the oldest African American churches in America, located in Charletson, South Carolina, and murdered innocent men and women . This horrendous act was out of extreme racism Roof feels towards African Americans, and he told his victims “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country.” This event has brought national attention to the ongoing racism that is plaguing America, and more importantly, attention to the Confederate Flag that waves on the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol.

Since the event, people have rallied around the need to take down the Confederate Flag. Many believe that Southern States used this flag in their fight to preserve slavery in America, it is used as a symbol of white supremacy and promotes division and racism. Governor Jeb Bush said that the flag belongs in a museum, but it is ultimately up to South Carolina to decide, while Governor Mitt Romney called for the flag’s immediate removal from the State Capitol. Southerners who believe the flag is part of their heritage, have equally gone on the defense, stating that it is a part of their history with no racial implications.

Today, however, South Carolina lawmakers have taken action, and decided to remove the flag from the State Capitol. Governor Nikki Haley, along with Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Tim Scott, and other representatives stood together to declare that the flag will be removed following the racist attacks last week. Although there was a vote in 2000 from the South Carolina Senate that moved the flag from on top of the Capitol to the Capitol Grounds, people feel as if it is not enough, and want the flag completely gone. People with ancestors that fought in the Civil War, however, are equally enraged, and do not want Roof’s racist acts associated with the flag which represents a part of many people’s family histories.

Here are some key points from Governor Haley’s Press Conference today:

1) Haley starts her Press Conference by addressing the horrific event that happened in South Carolina, and how many have come together in prayer and community to grieve over this horrible event. Yesterday, the church where the shootings happened reopened, and she went with her two children. Haley said she has never been so proud and said that, “my children saw that true hate can never triumph over true love.” South Carolina has been seen by the world and by the nation for its strength and its resilience.

2) She then spoke about how South Carolina was named the most friendly state, and the most patriotic. In particular, in wake of Walter Scott’s shooting, the state did not protest or riot, but came together in conversation and passed a body camera law for police.

3) Haley spoke about how the state elected Senator Tim Scott, one of the only two African American members in the United States Senate, and she is also a minority as a woman serving as Governor. This illustrates that although an act of extreme racism happened in their state, it in no way represents the entirety of the people.

4) Haley addressed that the State has come a long way from its troubled past, and that for many the flag is a symbol of ancestors who were called upon to serve their state in a time of conflict. Because of the events last week, however, it has brought to South Carolina’s attention that people use this as a symbol of division and hatred, and for this reason, she is calling for the removal of the flag from the State Capitol grounds.

5) While the flag will be removed from the Capitol, people still have the right to wave the Confederate Flag on their personal property if they wish to do so.

6) Haley addressed that Roof’s monstrous acts of racism were in an effort to cause a race war. She stood with South Carolina’s elected officials, as well as the people of South Carolina, to show that this is not the case. She knows that what she said today will generate a lot of responses, but she asks that everyone will give South Carolina the time they need to grieve the loss of nine innocent lives.

Haley emphasized that there is no winner or loser here, but given the event last week, the flag in no way can be used as a symbol to drive people apart. She said, “we can honor the nine souls who are now in heaven,” with a new atmosphere of love and acceptance. The focus, above all, is still on the nine victims.