To the delight of many black residents in Charleston, South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state's capitol grounds.
In the wake of Wednesday's racist massacre at Emanuel A.M.E. church in Charleston, many around the country argued that continuing to fly the divisive symbol at an official government building was inappropriate, and a bitter reminder of the racial hostility that motivated the shooter to kill nine people. Public pressure soon mounted, with a social media campaign to #TakeItDown, and people from President Barack Obama to Mitt Romney calling for the flag’s removal.
“It’s about time,” 29-year-old Charleston resident Lasheya Williams said after Haley's announcement.
Williams' cousin, Ethel Lee Lance, was killed Wednesday in the shooting at Emanuel, and Williams explained that seeing the flag in days since has added insult to injury.
“It’s causing too much pain,” she said. “I know there’s going to be backlash, but it has to come down.”