"The problem for our party is that our approach often appears cold and unwelcoming to minorities," Haley said
Haley called on Republicans to do a better job of listening to voices from people like Black Lives Matter members
Nikki Haley, the Republican governor of South Carolina who pressed for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from state property this summer, acknowledged that the GOP still has an image problem with minority voters, calling it “shameful.”
“The problem for our party is that our approach often appears cold and unwelcoming to minorities,” Haley, who was raised in South Carolina by immigrant parents from India, said in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington on Wednesday. “That’s shameful and it has to change.”
Haley’s effort to remove the Confederate flag followed the June shooting in Charleston of black parishioners during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church allegedly by an avowed white supremacist. The massacre, combined with several instances of unarmed African-Americans dying at the hands of police, has inspired a growing movement called “Black Lives Matter.”
Activists are calling for police reform and have interrupted presidential campaign events to make their voices heard.
In her remarks, which were billed as “Lessons from the New South,” Haley called on Republicans to do a better job of listening to voices from people like Black Lives Matter members.
But she also urged activists against using protest tactics that interrupt events.
“Black lives do matter,” Haley said. “It’s all about working together. We don’t think we get anything done by yelling. We get everything done by communicating. …We will listen to you and work for you and try to bring you together. It’s not just black lives matter, we’ve got lots of groups that want to yell and scream. You can do that, but it’s not going to get you anywhere.”
Haley said that if anyone commits an act of violence while claiming the mantle of the Black Lives Matter movement, members should be quick to condemn.
“Black lives do matter and they have been disgracefully jeopardized by the movement that has laid waste to Ferguson and Baltimore,” she said.