A year later : The Confederate Flag

A year ago today, the confederate flag was permanently removed from the grounds of the South Carolina State House.

Years before that, I had covered the debate and negotiations in the legislature for the Associated Press. At that time, there were protests and marches, some big,most small, on both sides of the debate. Eventually it led to the “compromise” as it was called that moved the flag from the State House dome, to a memorial at Main and Gervais.

Protesters gather on the grounds of the South Carolina State House to protest the flying of the confederate battle flag.
Protesters gather on the grounds of the South Carolina State House to protest the flying of the confederate battle flag.

The main difference from then to the protests last year that I noticed was a level of civility. Pro-Flag protesters were actually talking to the opponents, not yelling (although there was some yelling from time to time).

 

 

A year ago today, July 10, 2015, the flag was removed. Part ceremony, part spectacle, it drew crowds of supporters and protesters. In a short amount of time, the flag was down, the pole was removed, and new sod was laid.

A year later, there are new protests at the State House, not over the flag, but in response to the recent spate of police involved shootings and the recent sniper shooting at a rally in Dallas, Texas. Seems for all the gains, we still have a way to go.

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Google – GYBO.com Event with Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin

I attended one of Google’s “Let’s put our cities on the map” event and had a chance to hear some new programs they offer, as well as hear from Mayor Steve Benjamin and local business leaders.

Columbia SC Mayor Steve Benjamin speaking with Tommy Preston from Nexsen Pruet at Google's GYBO.com event.
Columbia SC Mayor Steve Benjamin speaking with Tommy Preston from Nexsen Pruet at Google’s GYBO.com event.
Stasia Kudrez, a public speaker for Google, opens the discussion of Googles new business tools.
Stasia Kudrez, a public speaker for Google, opens the discussion of Google’s new business tools.

GYBO Event-5 GYBO Event-7Mayor Benjamin mingled with the attendees to observe the progress everyone was making.

Marvin Augustin helps an attendee build her new website.        Marvin Augustin helps an attendee build her new website.