A debate that has raged across the nation since the racially-motivated killing of nine people in a South Carolina church this year is coming to Minnesota.
More specifically, a group calling itself "MN 10,000 for Southern Heritage" will hold a rally in support of the Confederate flag on the State Capitol grounds next month, according to a state event schedule.
Despite the inflammatory nature of the subject – the Confederate flag has been defended as a symbol of American history and decried as an emblem of racism – the group told MPR News that their intentions are good.
Organizer BC Johnson commented to the station that the flag should be seen as an "image of heritage" and states' rights, and emphasized that racism of any kind will be unwelcome at the rally – which is lawful thanks to a permit issued by the state.
Since the killing of nine bible study members at an historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June, the flag – which has come to represent the ill-fated southern war effort in the U.S. Civil War – has found itself at the center of a debate about racism in America.
Dylann Roof, the man charged with perpetrating the deadly church shooting, had appeared in pictures posing with the controversial flag, and the ensuring debate culminated in the permanent removal of the flag from South Carolina's Capitol grounds.
The backlash against the Confederate symbol continued in the state this week, with Charleston public schools banning students from displaying it on clothing, jewelry and any other apparel, FOX News reports.
The Minnesota Capitol rally will be held on the upper mall from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sept. 5.