Today, the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance’s President and CEO, Lewis F. Gossett, released the following statement:
“Five short days ago, South Carolina experienced the unthinkable – the senseless murder of 9 of our people. These were 9 beautiful souls gathered to worship who welcomed with open arms into their Bible study the very one who would end their lives. After this horrific event, many outside of our State would have expected violence and community upheaval, but instead, this special place we call home came together. Black and white, rich and poor, young and old, Republicans and Democrats – we have joined hands, celebrated those we lost, and shown the world how powerful we can be when we are one.
Prayer vigils all over our State, spontaneous hymns on the streets of Charleston, and thousands of us on the bridge in Charleston yesterday – we are making our statement to the world. As Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’
We must now continue the work of creating One South Carolina. The Confederate Battle Flag has flown on the Statehouse grounds in one form or another since 1962. The time is long overdue for it to be removed once and for all.
Since those terrible moments last Wednesday night, we have seen acts of love, grace, and kindness that defy description. They have been life-affirming and have shown us that even from the depths of evil and inhumanity great good can come.
We could not be more proud of South Carolina. We are grateful and proud to call this great State our home, and we rejoice in the determination of our people to vanquish the dark.
We believe the time is now to take this bold and courageous step. We therefore support the removal of the Confederate Flag so we can demonstrate yet again to the nation and to the world just how special our home is.
We know this one act will not bring those souls back home to us. We know it will not heal all of our wounds or remove all of our differences. It will, however, make a strong statement about the kind of State we want for our families and for future generations.
Do this for the future and for the good of South Carolina. Let us continue the work of building One South Carolina.”