The legislature voted to adopt a new state flag that will no longer carry the Confederate battle emblem. The bill now needs the signature of Governor Tate Reeves. Governor Reeves has stated that he is going to sign the bill.
For the founder of the Mississippi Rising Coalition, Lea Campbell, the legislature’s decision made on Sunday is a huge victory. She’s been advocating for this change for the past five years. “I’m happy for our state. Because in my mind, it’s the beginning of a new era. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. This is so symbolic of a mindset that folks are ready to address some of the issues that are holding us back.”
Yet for former flag advocates Deborah Simpson and Shavon Morris, this bill is extremely disappointing because they believe legislature went against the results of the 2001 referendum. “They choose to go against that. Legislatures have a lot of freedom to do things on their own. They make decisions all the time for people, but this issue has been going on for many years regarding the election integrity and that’s the part that’s of great concern,” said Simpson.
Governor Tate Reeves’ prior stance on the state flag was that the decision must be made by a vote. While Reeves agreeing to sign the bill was a shock to some, for others it is expected behavior. “You know, in general, the state of Mississippi takes a lot of pride in its college athletics. So, when the NCAA and SEC and Conference USA came out and gave the state an ultimatum, I think the governor and the state legislatures did not have a choice,” said Campbell.
“You must see what they did wrong in the legislature. They have a lot of power to do something, but just because they can doesn’t mean you should,” said Simpson.