Town hall meeting held in Hattiesburg to discuss discrimination in Mississippi

Town hall meeting held in Hattiesburg to discuss discrimination in Mississippi

HATTIESBURG, MS - Dozens of Hattiesburg residents attended an anti-discrimination town hall meeting in Hattiesburg on Thursday.

The meeting was just one of 10 similar town halls taking place around the state.

"Tonight we're continuing our 'Community Conversations'," said Erik Fleming, director of Advocacy and Policy with the ACLU of Mississippi.

The "We Are All Mississippi" Coalition is a group of 20 nonprofit organizations working to increase equality for all communities. The group hosted the meeting to discuss controversial hot topics.

"Of course HB1523 has kind of been the talk of the town," Fleming said. "We're trying to address not just that but also discuss other forms of discrimination going on in the state as well as dealing with the state flag."

Groups like the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition and the ACLU of Mississippi gave presentations to educate the community about the Religious Liberty Accommodations Act as well as the importance of voting.

The community was invited to share ideas and solutions on how to deal with certain issues like voting and the state flag.

"Our primary concern is that everybody has the freedom of making choices for their life and that means everybody," said Clarence Magee, president of the Forrest County Branch of NAACP.

"Hopefully people will have a better understanding of how to fight these acts of discrimination, knowing their rights a little better and actually having some hope that some things can be done in the community," Fleming said.

Fleming said the ACLU of Mississippi has been working with groups for a year and a half to create a Mississippi Civil Rights Act.

The next "Community Conversation" will take place Monday, May 16, in Natchez.