Remove the Confederate Symbol from the Mississippi Flag

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At least 581 people have been lynched in the state of Mississippi throughout U.S. history, the vast majority of whom were hung because of one thing: they were black.

This history is troubling enough, but it’s even more so when you see Mississippi’s junior Senator, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, making a joke this month at a political fundraiser where she laughs about how if one of her donors invited her, “she’d attend a public hanging.” The comment drew sharp responses from voters on the left and the right, noting that Sen. Hyde-Smith’s opponent is an African American. But Sen. Hyde-Smith has yet to apologize.

This kind of language would be unacceptable in so many places around the country. But not yet in Mississippi, my home state, where one of the most violent and destructive symbols in all of American history -- the Confederate emblem -- still adorns our state flag. It’s time to say enough is enough.

Join me in calling on Mississippi to remove the Confederate symbol from its state flag.

Over the last few years we’ve seen so many communities come to terms with the racist and shameful legacy of the Confederacy, and pull their support of this symbol which for so many people represents the violence and hatred that led to hundreds of “public hangings” all around the South. South Carolina’s government stopped displaying the Confederate symbol; cities around Mississippi, including tourism-friendly places like Biloxi, have also stopped flying our state flag because it bears the Confederate emblem. Even a judge in Mississippi over the last month removed the Mississippi State Flag from his courtroom because he felt the Confederate symbol sent the message that not everyone was welcome or equal in his court.

The Confederate symbol in our state flag is a dying, hate-filled relic, and it’s time for a change.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s comments are appalling and show a complete lack of understanding at the race-based violence so many people in Mississippi have faced for the last 150 years.

But her comments are just a symptom of a larger issue in our state that stems directly from the tolerance, acceptance and celebration of the Confederate symbol in our state flag. A symbol that for so many years has been championed by those who want to hurt, minimize, humiliate, and enslave an entire population of people.

I'm proud to call Mississippi my home state, but I know that it not only can do better -- it needs to do better.

Now is the moment to show Mississippi and the rest of the country that hateful symbols have no place in our politics. Let’s send a message now to Mississippi lawmakers that the historic emblem that normalizes so much violence toward people has no place in our State Flag. Join me in calling on Mississippi lawmakers to remove the Confederate symbol from our flag.



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