Senate democratic leader Arthenia Joyner was successful in removing the Confederate flag from the seal that marks the Florida Senate.
The seal is located in the Senate chambers of the Florida Capitol and replicas appear throughout the Capitol. The seal is also included on Senate stationery.
Joyner asked the senate chamber to consider removing the Confederate flag from the seal shortly after Dylann Roof was accused of killing nine people at a Charleston, SC., church in June.
Photos of Roof with the Confederate flag circulated in the media.
Joyner expressed her reason for desire of the flag removal.
“Anyone who knows the history of blacks in the South, including Florida, understands what that flag represents,” Joyner said. “To see it as part of the official emblem representing the Florida Senate and the power this institution holds as a lawmaking body was deeply offensive to me. It needed to be removed.”
Senate President Andy Gardiner, expressed that the Senate wanted to get the decision out of the way so the staff could begin transitioning to a new emblem as soon as possible.
Gardiner also noted that the seal could undergo further changes in the short term beyond just removing the Confederate battle flag.
"We want to make sure all the members are comfortable with the decision as to what the Senate seal's going to look like," Gardiner said. "The seal may change some more. It was good that we, at least, made the changes out of respect for those that had a concern."
Students throughout the city of Tallahassee were also concerned about the Confederate flag and its removal from the Florida Senate’s seal.
Sheldon Williams, a fourth-year Florida State University sociology student from Apopka, Fla., is the president of the Black Student Union at FSU. Williams has been following the motion to remove the Confederate flag from the seal and said he is glad the change was finally made.
“There are students on campus who still have no idea of the Confederate flag’s origin and how it is a symbolism of oppression,” Williams said. “It was most definitely time to remove the flag from the seal.”
The change to the seal will become effective immediately.