A dark cloud looms over the Battery most Sundays. A red, white and blue cloud that has been the topic of debate in recent years. This cloud is the Confederate flag.
Walking along the water at the Battery one can’t help to feel serene and content – as if there is not a worry in the world. Laughter and conversations among friends and family mingle with the waves crashing against the wall, creating an atmosphere that draws in tourists and locals alike. But this peacefulness is ruined each Sunday when individuals choose to station their Confederate flags at the heart of this beloved landmark. When individuals choose our country’s horrifying past over what could be a promising future. When individuals choose hate over love.
These individuals are part of the South Carolina Secessionist Party who go to White Point Garden along the Battery every weekend to display the Confederate flag. Not only do they wave flags themselves while dressed in Confederate soldier uniforms as well as modern clothing, but they have a large, imposing flag mounted from a pick-up truck that is identifiable from blocks away. Viceland, a documentary series, recently released an episode on the debate over the Confederate flag called “Hate Thy Neighbor” in which this South Carolina group was featured (released in February 2018). The group gathers in front of the statue which holds the inscription “To the Confederate Defenders of Charleston” which was erected in 1932 and has also been the subject of much debate over the years in relation to the removal of Confederate monuments. While there are usually only a couple individuals at the Battery each weekend, their presence still brings an unsettling atmosphere to the otherwise serene setting.
March for Our Lives, #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, Education Reformation, Body Positive Movement, #YesAllWomen, Immigrant Rights Movement and rallies for the Flint Michigan Water Crisis are only a few social issues that have been addressed in recent years but there are countless others around the country and world. And while each of these social movements hold importance and value, a small but devastating problem arises with each new movement. With every door that opens to a new conversation, we close the door on another. We jump from one issue to the next and nothing is ever resolved as a result.
Every movement is calling for a change, so why aren’t we all coming together to make a stand and demand that change? If every group, organization and individual involved in these movements worked together and supported each other is there any way that we could go unheard or unseen? Is there any way that we could be silenced?
Besides just calling for a change, however, these movements are all fighting for one simple thing – human rights. And though that should be enough, we’ve learned time and time again that apparently that doesn’t mean much. The people are still being pushed to the sides. The people’s rights are still not being recognized. Inequality is still winning. And hate is still being favored. If you don’t believe me, walk along the Battery on a Sunday and see it for yourself.
You may be asking, “so, what are we supposed to do?” The answer is simple: we have to come together and make sure every conversation is heard just as loud. We have to support each other, and then the change will come.