Last week, in one of the most brutal displays of racism this country has seen in decades, a white man went into a church in Charleston, SC and assassinated nine people because they were Black. He even said clearly why he did it: because he believes white people are superior. The flag that he held in pictures, the flag that adorned his car -- the Confederate flag -- serves as a symbol of his awful, hateful beliefs.
That flag is currently flying on the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse. Despite decades of effort to remove the flag, it's still there in part because "not a single CEO" has complained, as SC governor Nikki Haley put it last year.
Efforts to remove the flag are reaching a fever pitch. Over the weekend, more than 1,000 rallied at the capitol to demand they take down the flag, and over half a million people have signed a petition to remove the flag. Even Governor Haley called to remove the flag today -- but it's not her call. Removal of the flag takes a ⅔ vote in both chambers of the legislature.
If two major businesses that employ people in SC -- Adidas and BMW -- weigh in now, it could be enough to push other legislators to realize the damage that flag does to people, and the state's reputation.
BMW, Adidas: Tell South Carolina you don't want to see this hateful flag in the state you do business.
I grew up just a few hours from the SC capital of Columbia, and remember seeing it each time I was there. It's hard to miss, waving in front of the Statehouse. I'd walk past it and think "what must it be like to live in a state that celebrates a flag that represents violence and racism against Black people?" Even more so now that nine people have been brutally murdered by a terrorist who pledged allegiance to that flag, it is time for the flag to go.
When big business speaks, South Carolina's legislators listen. Unfortunately, it's usually not for good -- but this time it can be. That's why we know that if BMW and Adidas, two major corporations with important brands to protect, call for the removal of the flag, it'll carry a lot of weight within the halls of the Statehouse.
BMW is one of South Carolina's largest employers with over 10,000 people in its only US factory. Adidas invested $150 million in its 1.9-million-sq-ft distribution center, the company's largest in the United States. That's a lot of investment in a state that continues to fly a symbol of white supremacy in front of its Statehouse.
BMW, Adidas: Tell South Carolina to take down this symbol of hate.
For more information:
Nikki Haley: It's OK to have the Confederate flag at the statehouse because not "a single CEO" has complained, Salon, Oct 15, 2014.
Nikki Haley, Mark Sanford Weigh In On Confederate Flag Debate, HuffPo, June 19, 2015
After Charleston killings, more than 1,000 protest Confederate flag, Atlanta Journal Constitution, June 20th, 2015
S.C. governor calls for removing Confederate flag from Capitol grounds, USA Today, June 22nd, 2015