One state flag…garnering polarizing points of view. “I see division,” says Lea Campbell, who wants to see the confederate emblem removed from Mississippi’s state flag. “I see division among our citizens, and it doesn’t have to be that way.”
On the other side of the issue stands residents like Greg Stewart, who is against changing the flag. “I see my ancestors. I see the sacrifices that they made. I see the hardship they went through. ”
12 different bills regarding a change, redesign or removal of the confederate symbol from the state flag died on Tuesday, the deadline for lawmakers to act on all general bills. None of the proposed bills for changing the flag gained majority support from either state house or senate representatives.
The fate of the Mississippi state flag is now in the hands of residents. Protestors both for and against the removal of the confederate emblem on the flag are asking citizens to speak up and step out at the polls come November.
The 1 flag for all coalition is still collecting signatures for ballot initiative 55, the Flag for All Mississippians Act, that would remove any reference to the confederacy from the flag. “I think it’s time for our state to choose a symbol that promotes unity as opposed to division and prosperity for our state,” says Campbell. And various supporters of the current 122-year-old flag are pushing to gain support for initiative 58, which would protect the flag from any changes. “It’s up to us, no matter how you feel about it, to go out and get the signatures and work for it and sell your idea to the public,” says Stewart.
So while a design for the flag remains a point of contention, one thing both parties seem to agree on is just how powerful symbolism can be.