South Carolina senate votes to remove Confederate flag

FILE - In a Monday, June 22, 2015 file photo, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, center, is applauded during a news conference in the South Carolina State House, in Columbia, S.C. Haley said that the Confederate flag should come down from the grounds of the state capitol, reversing her position on the divisive symbol amid growing calls for it to be removed. (Tim Dominick/The State via AP, File)

UPDATE: COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Senate votes to remove Confederate flag from Statehouse grounds.

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CHARLESTON, SC (NEWS2) South Carolina lawmakers are expected to begin debating bills Monday to decide if the Confederate Flag flying on Statehouse grounds should be taken down for good.

Rep. Wendell Gilliard and others are planning a rally for noon Monday at the Statehouse. Rep. Gilliard says any flag other than the American flag should be in museums. According to a recent CNN/ORC poll, most Americans agree.

Gilliard tells NEWS2, “We need to fly old glory – the United states Flag. This is what this country was built on. Unity and respect for all mankind and people need to understand that. This is the true flag the sovereign flag.”

Some people say that the Confederate flag should fly at the Statehouse.

“Let that flag fly. I know it offends a bunch of people, I’m sure it does. Sorry ’bout that. Like I said, this is heritage not hate. So I say it should stay flying, if you ask me,” says Thomas Lovingood.

Shaterica Neal disagrees. She says, “One thing can be said in the public, but my biggest worry is what is said behind closed doors and what is taught to children.”

Take back the flag SC has held many rallies over the flag in Columbia. They are partnering with the NAACP for a rally Monday afternoon.

A CNN/ORC poll asked more than 1,000 Americans: do you, yourself, see the Confederate flag more as a symbol of Southern pride or more as a symbol of racism?

57% of Americans see it as a symbol of Southern pride.

Several representatives joined hands Sunday to pray at the Greenville County Square. They asked for peace and clarity during this week’s debate. They joined the Upstate group “Put down the guns young people” to pray for all lawmakers.

Rep. Mike Burns says, “We don’t want to be another Ferguson or another Baltimore. As has been exemplified by our friends who have deceased ones with the shooting in Charleston. They have shown us what a wonderful Christian example should be.”

Nascar fans proudly flew their Confederate flags at Daytona International Speedway for Sunday’s Coke Zero 400.

The racetrack offered a flag exchange program, giving each person who turned in a Confederate Flag an American one.

Jason Clark says he will not stop flying the Confederate Flag at Daytona after 25 years.

“It’s just our heritage and our Southern way of life. And it makes us happy when we’re able to show something that represents us.”

Clark also said, “It means there’s no hatred. There’s no racism with that flag. There’s no discrimination of people.”

Nascar’s chairman says he will go as far as he can to eliminate the presence of the Confederate Flag at all Nascar tracks.

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