JACKSON, MS - This is a news release from the Flag for All Mississippians Coalition
Today the Flag For All Mississippians Coalition announced that it has received the endorsement of a group of fifty prominent ministers and faith leaders from all across Mississippi who support removing the Confederate symbol from the state flag. The ministers will engage their congregations and communities to build awareness and support for the Flag For All Mississippians' campaign to press state legislators to take direct action on the flag issue or ask the voters to decide on a statewide ballot whether the Confederate emblem that was added to the state flag in 1894 should be removed. The complete list of endorsing faith leaders can be viewed here.
"We're truly excited to see momentum building for changing the flag and are pleased that ministers from across the state are with us in encouraging our state legislators to address this issue in the upcoming legislative session or by clearing a path for the people of Mississippi to have a clean vote on removing the Confederate emblem from our flag," said Sharon Brown of the Flag For All Mississippians Coalition. "If the legislature places the issue on the ballot then it should mirror the language being proposed in Initiative 55 and be a vote on whether to remove any reference to the Confederacy—and not a vote choosing between various flag designs."
"We stand strong in our convictions that longstanding symbols of racial hatred and oppression have no place in a flag that is supposed to represent all families who call Mississippi home," said Pastor Willie Jones, president of East Mississippi Baptist State Convention. "By removing the Confederate symbol once and for all from the flag, our hope and goal is to help bring healing across this state and encourage reconciliation across enduring racial and class barriers."
"As Christians, we are called to draw our identity and self-worth from Jesus Christ, our Savior who came to set the captives free and proclaim liberty to every human being, regardless of our race, class or gender," said Pastor Melvin Montgomery of Faith & Grace Missionary Baptist Church. "When our sons and daughters look up to the state flag, we want them to see only hope and a bright future for their lives rather than a symbol from the past based on false racial superiority, intimidation and violence."
The Flag For All Mississippians Coalition, representing a diverse group of Mississippians, is sponsoring the Flag for All Mississippians Act (Initiative Measure #55) that will amend the Mississippi State Constitution and provide that: "The flag of the State of Mississippi shall not contain or include any reference to the Confederate army's battle flag or to the Confederacy. On Sunday, October 11th, the Coalition sponsored a march attended by over 200 civil rights advocates through downtown Jackson that ended with a rally on the State Capitol Building steps that featured speeches by civil rights legend Myrlie Evers-Williams, musician and activist David Banner, civil rights lawyer Chokwe Lumumba Jr., and South Carolina State Representative Jenny Horne.
The ballot title for Initiative Measure #55:
"Should the Confederate battle flag or any reference to the Confederacy be removed from the State Flag?"
The ballot summary for Initiative Measure #55: