Lawmakers and advocates gather for South Carolina's first End Racism Day
Chief Dr. Will Moreau Gains of the Cherokee Indian Tribe of South Carolina sang "Amazing Grace" to conclude the event.
Deputy Commissioner Daniel Koon explained that race relations involves all groups of people.
By Courtney Thornley
One golden rule was emphasized to South Carolinians on March 21: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
The South Carolina Human Affairs Commission hosted the first End Racism Day at the South Carolina State House. The goal is to prevent and eliminate discrimination and promote a dialogue among diverse groups of people.
"It is time for us to move the conversation further. It is time for us to choose between being kind and being right," Deputy Commissioner Daniel Koon of the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission said.
Lawmakers and advocates gathered to hear the proclamation by Gov. Nikki Haley. State Sen. John Scott urged Columbia residents to bring more diversity.
"It is your responsibility to bring that to life and educate them if we are going to move forward in this state. We have to be able to look at things from more than one perspective," Sen. Scott said.
State Sen. Joel Lourie spoke of the importance of remembering the lives lost in the Emanuel AME church shooting last June.
"And that night, we witnessed perhaps the most horrific racial incident in modern time, and we witnessed it here in South Carolina," Sen. Lourie said.
The Confederate flag was taken down the following month after the shooting. That was one step South Carolina has taken to promote harmony. But Sen. Lourie thinks more needs to be done.
"We won't end racism by taking down a flag. We will end racism by the way we treat one another," Sen. Lourie said.
Guided walking tours followed the speakers along with an art exhibit, a panel discussion and a presentation of the documentary Wattstax at the Nickelodeon Theatre.
The documentary captures performers from the black community at the Watts Summer Festival that came together to remember the 1965 Watts, Los Angeles riots.