Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed legislation Thursday afternoon that will remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the statehouse and place it in a museum instead.
Haley made explicit reference to the death of nine people in Charleston’s Zion AME Church at the hands of a racist shooter as the catalyst for change. “Nine people took in someone that did not look like them or act like them, and with true love and true faith and true acceptance, they sat and prayed with him for an hour.”
“That forgiveness and grace set off another action, an action of compassion by people all across South Carolina and all across this country. They stopped looking at each other’s differences,” she said. “They started looking at each other’s similarities, because we were all experiencing the same pain. That compassion motivated action.”
Haley signed the bill surrounded by family members of the deceased and three former governors who pressured South Carolina to make the change. She signed the bill with nine different pens, each of which were gifted to the family members of the nine victims.