FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - There is a proposed plan to house the Confederate flag in Columbia and to use your tax dollars to do so. One community activist in Florence and Florence School District One board member spoke up today to get the word out.
Pat Gibson-Hye Moore took a stance against the plan to use millions of dollars to fund what she believes is a symbol of hate - a symbol taken down after the racially-motivated shooting that killed nine people inside a Charleston church.
The topic hits close to home for Gibson-Hye Moore. A good friend of hers was inside Emmanuel AME during the massacre. Gibson-Hye Moore says her friend is, "the one that he told, 'Don't worry, I'm not going to kill you because I need someone to tell the story.' Then I see a picture of him brandishing that Confederate flag beside him and the words he said about the N-word and us being violent. Those people will never be the same again. Those people will never be the same again. The families, the lives that were taken, nor the survivors."
That flag was removed from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds nearly six months ago. Gibson-Hye Moore spoke out today at the State Department of Revenue to help get the word out. She started out by saying, "The taxpayers of South Carolina, this flag has been used in racially-motivated murders, lynchings, and just hate."
Gibson-Hye Moore says she doesn't understand the hatred a piece of cloth can spread, so she wants to speak up for not only her friend, but for everyone. "She will never be the same," she said. "Her life is forever changed. I can't even imagine how she must feel when she goes to sleep at night and all of a sudden it comes into her dreams, it comes into her thoughts throughout the day. That never goes away to see that many people murdered in front of your eyes," said Gibson-Hye Moore.
During the news conference Wednesday, Gibson-Hye Moore said the state has already paid for the Confederate flag to be put on top of Statehouse grounds and for it to be removed. She believes housing it in a museum should be by private support and donors. State Representative Robert Williams today feels the same.
"Certainly we don't need to spend any more money than we've already spent in taking care of the flag. I just don't see why we should be spending that type of money," Williams said.
The Director of the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, Allen Roberson, says the Senate came to the museum in July asking for a budget and proposal plan. There are renditions of the new and expanded exhibit rooms showing the floating glass case where the confederate flag could be kept.
The cost to house it is now at an estimated $3.6 million. Gibson-Hye Moore wants that money going elsewhere. She says, "There is infrastructure, there is still people suffering from the floods, there is education K-12, there is Medicaid, there are so many other things that are so important. This flag is only important to those who want to demonstrate divisiveness among the people of this state."
"We've paid enough for it. I'm calling on the citizens of South Carolina to unite, to stand together, to come with force and to demand that tax dollars of the citizens of South Carolina do not again foot the bill for this flag," Gibson-Hye Moore said, adding that she understands the historical aspect of the Confederate flag, but just does not agree tax payers should fund it.