By Lisa Brock, Senior Editor and Academic Director, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership
Like many, my heart was broken upon hearing that 21 year-old Dylann Roof staked out the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and after sitting in prayer with the elderly and welcoming parishioners, yelled, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country, and you have to go.” On that tragic day, June 17, 2015, he methodically murdered nine people with the intent to kill more.
Because Roof was seen in photos linking his racist beliefs to the Confederate flag, because he slaughtered people in a church and because he killed a known and respected member of South Carolina’s State House of Representatives, the state’s politicians were finally shamed into heeding the four decades old call by black and progressive residents to remove the flag from the capitol grounds. After two days of emotional debate in the State House the flag was brought down on July 10, 2015 at 10 am.
State Representative Jenny Anderson Horne, a descendant of Jefferson Davis, leader of the Confederacy, said this in a raw and tearful plea as she pointed to black state representatives in the House Chambers:
“This flag offends my friend Mia McCloud, my friend John King, my friend Rev. Neal. I cannot believe that we do not have the heart in this body to do something meaningful, such as take a symbol of hate off these grounds on Friday.”
And she continued in her appeal, if this “is not done now, one is telling the widow of Senator Pickney and his two children that they do not matter…” (more…)