Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a invoice into regulation Tuesday that may change the state flag by eradicating the Accomplice battle emblem, first included 126 years in the past.
Legislators fast-tracked the measure over the weekend, with each chambers voting to droop the foundations Saturday to permit for debate and a vote. It handed Sunday on a Home vote of 91-23, which was rapidly adopted by a 37-14 Senate vote.
Reeves mentioned simply earlier than signing the invoice that he hoped Mississippians would put their divisions behind them to unite for a higher good.
“This isn’t a political second to me however a solemn event to steer Mississippi’s household to come back collectively, to be reconciled and transfer on,” Reeves mentioned.
The governor additionally mentioned he understood the concern of many who the change may start a series of occasions that might result in the erasure of the state’s difficult historical past. Whereas Reeves mentioned he stands towards monuments’ being taken down, he mentioned he did assist a brand new flag.
“There’s a distinction between a monument and flags,” Reeves mentioned. “A monument acknowledges and honors our previous. A flag is a logo of our current, of our folks and of our future. For these causes, we want a brand new image.”
The invoice requires a fee to steer a flag redesign that eliminates the Accomplice image however retains the slogan “In God We Belief.” A redesign permitted by the fee can be positioned on the November poll.
If voters reject the brand new design, the fee would attempt once more for a brand new flag that might be offered to the Legislature through the 2021 session.
The present flag, that includes blue, white and crimson stripes with the battle flag of the Military of Northern Virginia within the nook, was adopted in February 1894, in keeping with the Mississippi Historic Society.
Different makes an attempt to vary the flag have fallen brief through the years, together with a 2001 public referendum during which 64 % voted towards a redesign.
Reeves mentioned Tuesday that he nonetheless believed residents “finally” would have voted for a brand new flag however that he didn’t assume the state may deal with a contentious political battle amid a pandemic and different turbulent points arising in 2020.
“Our economic system is on the sting of a cliff,” Reeves mentioned. “Many lives rely upon us cooperating and being cautious to guard each other. I concluded our state has an excessive amount of adversity to outlive a bitter combat of brother towards brother.”
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Mississippi had been beneath rising strain, a few of it from the NCAA and the Southeastern Convention, which warned this month that collegiate championship video games might be barred within the state if the flag weren’t modified.
After the legislative votes Sunday, NCAA Commissioner Mark Emmert mentioned in an announcement that it was previous time to vary the flag, which “has too lengthy served as a logo of oppression, racism and injustice.”
Mississippi’s resolution to vary the flag after greater than a century comes throughout a brand new counting on racial inequality in America. Within the weeks for the reason that Could 25 loss of life of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, protesters throughout the nation have demanded systemic adjustments in policing whereas looking for to take away symbols of oppression.
Among the many buildings which have been focused are statues of Accomplice President Jefferson Davis in Virginia, President Andrew Jackson in Washington, D.C., and Juan de Oñate, a conquistador, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.