After intense debate and worldwide grief in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of nine worshippers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, the flag was formally taken down today after the state governor Nikki Haley signed a bill confirming it yesterday.
Whilst the flag has long been associated with racism, there are those who have insisted that it is merely a sign of heritage, not an overt call towards racial violence. This stand has seen the held high at the Capitol building in South Carolina, never lowered, for 54 years.
The president Barack Obama was pleased with the news as he tweeted “South Carolina taking down the confederate flag – a signal of good will and healing, and a meaningful step towards a better future”.
Will this end racism and attacks on Black people in America? For where? But we celebrate this step in the right direction. In echoing what the celebratory, jubilant crowd chanted as the flag came down: “Hey, hey, hey, goodbye!”
This post is in honour of the lives that have been lost needlessly due to racism, but particularly to the nine people that died on June 17th, 2015. May your souls forever rest in peace.
- Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd (54) – Bible study member and manager for the Charleston County Public Library system; sister of Malcolm Graham
- Susie Jackson (87) – a Bible study and church choir member
- Ethel Lee Lance (70) – the church’s sexton
- Depayne Middleton-Doctor (49) – a pastor who was also employed as a school administrator and admissions coordinator at Southern Wesleyan University
- Clementa C. Pinckney (41) – the church’s pastor and a South Carolina state senator
- Tywanza Sanders (26) – a Bible study member; nephew of Susie Jackson
- Daniel Simmons (74) – a pastor who also served at Greater Zion AME Church in Awendaw
- Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45) – a pastor; also a speech therapist and track coach at Goose Creek High School
- Myra Thompson (59) – a Bible study teacher
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