Coalition: State lawmakers must address flag issue as 2016 legis - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Coalition: State lawmakers must address flag issue as 2016 legislative session begins


This is a news release from Flag for All Mississippians Coalition

Following the 2016 legislative session convening on Tuesday, the Flag For All Mississippians Coalition today called on the Mississippi State Legislature to take direct action on the state flag issue.

“As legislators return to the state Capitol this week, one of the most pressing issues they must address is the growing outcry across the state to change the flag,” said Sharon Brown, official sponsor of Initiative Measure No. 55 to amend the state Mississippi State Constitution and ban any reference to the Confederacy in the state flag. “Mississippians of all races, all faiths, all economic and educational background want the flag changed and they will be heard on this issue. If the legislature fails to act by either passing legislation to change it or by not placing the issue on the November 2016 ballot, then the people will make the change by placing Initiative 55 on the November 2018 ballot.”

The signature gathering effort for Initiative 55 has already begun and the Coalition is confident it will have more than enough signatures to place the initiative on the ballot.

“If state legislators want the people to vote on the issue, the question should simply be on whether to remove the Confederate symbol from the flag and not a choice between two flag designs.  Based on the support we’re seeing across the state, we’re confident that we would win on the ballot. It is time for a flag for all Mississippians,” continued Brown.

The Flag For All Mississippians Coalition, representing a diverse group of Mississippians, is sponsoring the Flag for All Mississippians Act (Initiative Measure No. 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.  

In the following days, several cities, counties and students at state educational institutions including Ole Miss and the University of Southern Mississippi moved to stop flying the flag in protest of the Confederate symbol.  In December, a group of fifty ministers and faith leaders declared their support for Initiative Measure No. 55.

The ballot title for Initiative Measure No. 55:  

“Should the Confederate battle flag or any reference to the Confederacy be removed from the State Flag?”

The ballot summary for Initiative Measure No. 55:

Initiative Measure No. 55 proposes to add the following language to the Mississippi Constitution: “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.” As an enforcement mechanism, a Mississippi citizen may petition the Mississippi Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus requiring the State, its political subdivisions, their agents, officers, or employees to comply with the amendment.

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