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    Posted June 24, 2015 by
    29033, South Carolina
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    Unity Is Restored Once That Confederate Flag Comes Down


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Byron Thomas is a black South Carolina college student who once stood up to his university after other students complained about him displaying the confederate flag in his dorm room. He still supports the confederate flag and displays it inside his apartment, but he argues that the flag shouldn’t be hanging at the South Carolina Capitol.

    “I want everyone to have the same pride in my state that I do. As long as the confederate flag flies on our state house grounds, people can’t love it. People can’t call South Carolina a home,” he said on CNN iReport. “The flag needs to come down now. It needs to be respectfully placed in a museum where every South Carolinian can proudly call South Carolina their home and not feel oppressed by that symbol.”
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer


    First, let me pay my respects to the nine lives loss due to the racist actions of Dylan Roof. Nine of my brothers and sisters in Christ are now in heaven. They died with love in their hearts even though evilness was amongst them. South Carolina has nine angels watching over us now.

    My name is Byron Thomas and America; four years ago I was known to the world as the black student that refused to take his Confederate flag down from his dorm room window at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. A lot has changed in those four years as I’ve transferred to the University of South Carolina and I’ve survived a drunk driver hitting me head on driving on the wrong side of the interstate at night traveling at speeds of 75+ mph. Now we have another Confederate flag situation, but this time it’s time for it to come down.

    I want to commend Governor Nikki Haley, because I know this was a very tough decision and she will receive some backlash on this; however, I will be ready to stand beside her on her decision during these tragic times. I want everyone to love South Carolina like I love this beautiful and classy state, but sadly not everyone can love this state like I do until the flag is removed. So it is time for the people of South Carolina to unite and move forward together as one and remove the Confederate flag. Taking down the Confederate flag does not mean supporters of the flag have loss, but it brings awareness to how those who use the flag as a symbol of hate, such as Dylan Roof, will not define the people of South Carolina and will not use the flag as their symbolism toward carrying out domestic acts of terrorism and racism.

    We may never be able to completely agree on the true meaning on why the American Civil War was fought and whether or not the Confederate flag is a racist symbol, but we can all agree that we are first and foremost citizens of the of the greatest country in the world, the United States of America. Furthermore, as South Carolinians we are the #1 most patriotic and friendliest state in the United States of America. In such, we need to unite with the rest of the nation and raise only two flags on our statehouse grounds. They are the South Carolina flag and the American flag.

    I want to again clarify that the Confederate flag does not offend me and I am not ashamed that I don’t see the Confederate flag as a symbol of hate. I’m an American and it’s my constitutional right to view the flag how I choose to view it. I’m not here to tell anyone they have to see the flag like I do. Benjamin Thomas, a black SC Confederate cook in Company I, Second Regiment, was an ancestor of mine and I do not want to turn my back on his service to the South. Therefore, I use the flag to symbolize his honor, hard work, and dedication to the state of South Carolina during the Civil War.

    I would like for people to keep an open mind to those that don’t see the Confederate flag as a symbol of hate but of southern heritage and history. Dylan Roof is a domestic terrorist and the Southern community will no longer tolerate people who use the flag as he so horrifically used it. We need to make sure attitudes like his are rooted out and never encouraged. But I also ask for the people of South Carolina and America to not let his actions define everyone who carries the Confederate flag.

    “You rape our women, and you’re taking over this country,” said Dylan Roof.

    Sadly, whether the confederate flag comes down or not, the attitudes of Dylan Roof will still exist amongst some people. As Americans we must open our hearts and ears and fix the inequalities among the races.

    Keep the families of the nine victims in your prayers. Keep the state of South Carolina in your prayers. Keep the United States of America in your prayers. Overwhelm people with love and May God always bless the United States of America.
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