#TakeItDown: Lawmakers Key to Removal of Confederate Flag, Symbols

By Sheryl Estrada


South Carolina State House in Columbia. Photo: Shutterstock

Following South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s announcement on Monday calling for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from state grounds, the nation watchedas lawmakers took steps on Tuesday to consider its elimination.The hashtag#TakeItDown is trending on social media as demonstrators continue to rally outside the State House carrying signs with the same message.

The measure enabling South Carolinalawmakers to debate the flag removal later this summer passed the House by a vote of 103-10 and the Senate approved it with a voice vote.

In order to take down the Confederate battle flag from the capitol grounds, the measure will need a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers of the legislature. However, according toRep. James Clyburn, a Democrat,state legislature, with a simple majority, can vote to repeal that law.

He posted this message onTwitter:

Republican lawmakers, such asRep. Bill Chumley, are opposed to its removal.Chumley represents Spartanburg and is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He said the issue of the flag was decided in 2000 when it was placed in the war memorial position.

Chumley actually said in an interview with CNN, the nine Black church members in Charleston murdered by Dylann Roof have some accountability for what happened to them.

“These people sat in there and waited their turn to be shot,” he said. “Why didn’t somebody just do something I mean, you’ve got one skinny person shooting the gun.”

The Post and Courier began countingwhere lawmakers stand on the issue.

Roof’s use of the flag inphotos to perpetuate hate, has put a spotlight on all southern states, which utilize Confederate symbols in government.

RELATED STORY: Confederate Flag Supporters Dwindle Only in the Wake of Charleston

Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn, a Republican, said Monday the Confederate battle flag emblem must be removed from the state’s official flag.

“We must always remember our past, but that does not mean we must let it define us,” Gunn wrote in a Facebook post.”As a Christian, I believe our state’s flag has become a point of offense that needs to be removed. We need to begin having conversations about changing Mississippi’s flag.”

This is the first instance of a Mississippi Republican elected official publicly calling for the removal of the emblem.

In contrast, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant remained in support of the flag as is.

“A vast majority of Mississippians voted to keep the state’s flag, and I don’t believe the Mississippi Legislature will act to supersede the will of the people on this issue,” he said in a statement.

Bryant is referring to a statewide referendum in April 2001. Mississippi voters decided by a 2-1 margin to keep the state flag design created in 1894. The new design did not include any homage to the Civil War relic.

“The main reasons cited by supporters of the old flag were its place in Mississippi history and pride in their Southern heritage,” according to the New York Times. “Several counties in the predominantly black Delta area voted heavily for the new design, while suburban counties and those in white rural areas provided the solid majority against it.”

Mississippi State Senator Kenny Jones, a Democrat and chairman of the state’s legislative Black caucus, said on Monday in order to gain support ahead of the next legislative session that starts in January, he and others would contemplate pre-filing a proposed law to change the flag.

“I think it’s time for the whole south, with all the progressive individuals that we have, to start having a dialogue where we put out the right message that goes out to the rest of the nation,” Jones said.

In Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday that he is taking steps to have the Confederate battle flag removed from Virginia license plates.

“Although the battle flag is not flown here on Capitol Square, it has been the subject of considerable controversy, and it divides many of our people,” he said. “Even its display on state issued license tags is, in my view, unnecessarily divisive and hurtful to too many of our people.”

On June 18, The Supreme Court ruled that Texas is free to reject a proposed design by the Sons of Confederate Veterans that features the Confederate flag, saying that messages used on specialized license plates are a form of government speech.

The Tennessee statehouse currently houses a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general who was also elected the first “Grand Wizard”of the Ku Klux Klan. Gov. Bill Haslam says it should be removed.He said he would supportlegislation to remove the bust and flags.

“Forrest would not be my choice of one of the Tennesseans that we honor,”Haslam said.“I’ll be real clear about that. I think it’s appropriate to move the flag to museums and off of Tennessee symbols.”

Haslam also supports ending Tennessee license plates, which feature the Confederate battle flag.

The Tennessee state flag also includes Confederate symbols, as well as the state flags of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.

Latest News

What Friends Tell Friends: Choose Kaiser Permanente

Originally published on about.kaiserpermanente.org. Integrated, nonprofit health plan tops NICE Satmetrix customer experience benchmark study for 10th straight year. For the 10th year in a row, more people would recommend Kaiser Permanente to a friend or colleague than any other health plan in the nation, according to the recently released…

Cesar Conde

NBCUniversal Sets Ambitious 50% Diversity Goal for Women, People of Color

Cesar Conde, chairman at NBCUniversal News Group, announced a groundbreaking goal to have a 50% diverse workforce at NBCUniversal, according to Deadline. Conde, the first Latino in this role, outlined his plans in an internal video for employees on Wednesday. The ultimate goal is for NBCUniversal, No. 7 on DiversityInc’s 2020…

Mastercard Expands ShopOpenings.com to the U.S. & Canada, Delivering a Search Tool That Identifies What Stores Near You Are Open for Business

Originally published on mastercardcontentexchange.com. Search solution complements new Digital Acceleration for Small Business global initiative which helps small businesses advance digitally and drive online commerce As businesses seek to draw customers back both in store and online, Mastercard is introducing new tools to support them. Today, Mastercard announced the geographic…

TIAA Launches Programs to Raise Awareness of Racial Injustice and Support Communities in Need through the “Be The Change” Initiative

On June 30, TIAA announced new virtual programs designed to raise awareness of racial injustice and support communities in need as a part of the company’s recently launched “Be the Change” initiative. One is TIAA’s “Race Against Racism,” an effort in support of The Innocence Project which included more than…

Stop TB Partnership and Johnson & Johnson, with support from USAID and The Global Fund, Announce Price Reduction for SIRTURO® (bedaquiline) for Treatment of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Originally published on jnj.com. Joint efforts aim to accelerate scale-up of WHO-recommended all-oral treatment regimens – a transition urgently needed to help protect the health of people with drug resistant-tuberculosis who are particularly vulnerable during COVID-19 pandemic In 2020, the initiative aims to reach at least 125,000 patients and could…

Toyota, Alabama A&M and Huntsville Hospital Collaborate to Make COVID-19 Testing Easier

Originally published on pressroom.toyota.com. $100,000 grant provides free service to the community Alabama A & M University (AAMU), Huntsville Hospital and Toyota are developing a mobile health clinic initiative to provide free COVID-19 testing to underserved communities in Madison County. Launching later this year, the mobile medical clinic program has…