UNION COUNTY — The Union County Democratic Party is calling for the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the grounds of the State Capitol.
In a press release issued Monday morning, Party Chairman Ann Stevens said that the Union County Democratic Party held its regular meeting on June 22 during which the issue of the flag was discussed. Stevens said that during that meeting the members of the party had instructed their executive officers to issue a statement calling for the flag’s removal. She said that a special meeting of the party’s executive officers was then held on June 29 during which a statement calling for the flag’s removal was approved.
“This is considered the official position of the party,” Stevens said Monday morning in announcing the statement which reads:
“The Union County Democratic Party strongly supports the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the Statehouse grounds in Columbia, South Carolina. It is far past time that this action be taken to remove a symbol of slavery, injustice, racism, and hatred.
“South Carolina must not continue to be seen around the world as the last state in the union to govern justly for all of the people and not the privileged few. ‘All of the people matter,’ especially blacks and minorities.
“We strongly urge our state representatives to move swiftly to remove the flag from the grounds of the state capitol and place it in a museum where all historic state flags are located.
“All Lives Matter.”
The statement issued by the Union County Democratic Party is the latest in a growing number of calls for the flag’s removal from the grounds of the State Capitol that began in the aftermath of the June 17 massacre at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston that left nine people dead. All nine of those killed, including the church’s pastor. State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, were African-Americans and their killer, Dylann Roof, is white. Prior to the massacre, Roof, 21, of Eastover, had posted a photo on social media of himself holding a Confederate Battle Flag.
Since the massacre, local, state and federal officials and other leaders from across the state have called for the flag’s removal. Among those calling for the flag’s removal are Gov. Nikki Haley, US Sen. Lindsey Graham, US Sen. Tim Scott, and US House of Representatives Fifth District Rep. Mick Mulvaney, all Republicans.
When she called for the flag’s removal, Haley said it has become a symbol of divisiveness, contrasting that with how South Carolinians have come together to pray and heal in the aftermath of the massacre. She said this coming together of the people of South Carolina is an opportunity to move the Confederate Battle Flag from the grounds of the State Capitol and help promote healing and continued unity and move the state forward.
Following Haley’s call for the flag’s removal, Stevens, who is also a member of the Carlisle Town Council, was among several local officials who voiced their support for it.
“I am excited and proud that the state has come together and united to move forward and remove the flag from the state grounds,” Stevens said in a June 23 interview with The Union Daily Times. “I just hope the legislature on both sides will come together to expedite the process and remove the flag.”
Another Democrat calling for the flag’s removal is SC House District 42 Rep. Mike Anthony, Union County’s sole representative in the SC House of Representatives and chairman of the Union County Legislative Delegation. Anthony praised Haley for calling on the legislature to remove the flag and also praised the families of the victims for forgiving the murderer of their loved ones. He said he favors moving the flag to the State Museum where its history and the memory of those who served under it can be appropriately honored.