A letter to my governor, who will take down that flag

Dear Gov. Haley,

Thank you for your bold decision to push for the Confederate flag’s removal from our state capitol. I grew up in the Lowcountry and now live in the Upstate. As a South Carolina native, I’ve witnessed a great many things. Charleston’s rebirth as a food and leisure destination. The transformation of our industrial economy with the arrival of Boeing, BMW, and others. Greenville’s downtown revival. And every week, I discover something new to love in the wilderness of Oconee, DuPont, and other hiking destinations in the foothills.

Yet through all these years, there was always something that kept me from embracing “southern pride.” I’ve lived in different states and different countries over the years, and felt the need to apologize for my state when it comes to matters of racism. One can argue our progress, as you did in yesterday’s speech, but until now, there was always a symbol on the statehouse grounds that said, “We’re not done yet.”

That time is over, the message is changing. The removal of that flag will not rewrite history or undo the sins and sufferings of our ancestors, but its removal will send a message to the nation and the world, “We are moving forward.”

Thank you again for all you do.

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