The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce joined Governor Nikki Haley and a bipartisan group of state and local leaders in calling from the removal of the Confederate flag from the State House grounds.
“Just as we did in 1999 when the Charleston Metro Chamber led local efforts to remove the flag from atop the State House, we feel that the flag belongs in a place of historical reference,” said Bryan Derreberry, President and CEO of the Charleston Metro Chamber. “It is in the interest of all who live and work here that we show our ability to unite under the flag that is representative of everyone.”
In a press conference yesterday, Governor Nikki Haley called on South Carolina state legislators to pass legislation removing the flag by July 2, 2015.
"One hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the time has come," said Haley. "There will be some in our state who see this as a sad moment. I respect that. But know this, for good and for bad, whether it is on the statehouse grounds or in a museum the flag will always be a part of the soil in South Carolina. But this is a moment in which we can say that that flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state."
U.S. Senator Tim Scott echoed those sentiments.
"I do not believe the vast majority of folks who support the flag have hate in their hearts. Their heritage is a part of our state's history, and we should not ignore that," said Scott. "However, for so many others in our state, the flag represents pain and oppression. Because of that, as a life-long South Carolinian, as someone who loves this state and will never call anywhere else home, I believe it is time for the flag to come down."
Derreberry added that the Charleston Metro Chamber "believes that the removal of the flag is representative of the unification and collaboration of our region’s citizens, businesses and leaders to act for the greater good of all South Carolinians."