Changing the Flag

Hundreds gathered in Jackson on Sunday to rally in support of changing the Mississippi state flag. Their message: they will not be quiet until the flag is changed. As News 25’s Katarina Luketich shows us, the NAACP is not slowing down its efforts to get the flag changed.
President of the Jackson County NAACP Curley Clark said, “It hurts me, as a Mississippian, to know that fellow Mississippians are not sensitive to a large percentage of the state.”
To some, the state flag is a symbol of heritage. To others, it is a symbol of oppression. For those offended by the Confederate emblem in the top corner of the state flag, they believe their feelings of discrimination should be enough to change the state flag. Christopher Johnson, organizer of the march, said, “It’s not about letting go of your southern history. It’s not about that. It’s about having a flag so that people can look at it and all feel proud of it and not feel any sense of fear or shame.”
While the earliest a citizen sponsored initiative could be placed on a state ballot is 2018, the NAACP wants elected officials to take it upon themselves to change the flag this upcoming legislative session. In a state often divided by party lines, the conversation on Mississippi’s flag is different. A number of Republicans and Democrats, including House Speaker Philip Gunn, have voiced support for changing the flag. “We’re encouraging our membership across the state to talk to their legislators to gain support in changing that flag,” said Clark.
Those who want the flag changed say there is no doubt this conversation is dividing Mississippians and they want to find a symbol of unity. “One of the things that can bring this state together is to eliminate all of these divisive symbols that keep us apart. If we do that, we can come together as a state and progress,” said Clark.
The 2016 session begins in January, which would be the earliest the Legislature could take up the issue of changing the flag.

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