MRC member Mark Isaacs of Bay St. Louis gave a compelling talk on the Complexity and Contradiction of the Mississippi state flag of 1894, including the history of the flag and its intended symbolism, his own deep family ties to Mississippi’s Confederate and Jim Crow-era history and how the flag impedes social and economic progress in our state in the present day. The talk was followed by frank and productive public discussion between attendees of different races, backgrounds and beliefs. We believe that civil dialogue is key to moving the issue forward. Any group or individual interested in hosting the presentation and dialogue session in their community, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mississippi Rising Coalition is an advocate for the citizens of Mississippi and supports civil, productive discussion with our elected representatives at the state and federal level. Amid growing concerns about the future of healthcare, our coastal environment and economy, our immigrant friends and the increasing frequency of misinformation coming from the current Trump administration, the citizens of the Gulf Coast requested a town hall meeting with our Congressional delegation. All three representatives, Sen. Roger Wicker, Sen. Thad Cochran and Rep. Steven Palazzo, declined their constituents’ invitation to attend the town hall, but the event went on without them, giving constituents an opportunity to publicly voice their concerns.
There was a packed house inside USM Gulf Park’s Hardy Hall for a panel discussion and public forum to discuss the Mississippi state flag, which contains the Confederate emblem, on February 9, 2017. Associate professor of history Dr. Douglas Bristol organized the discussion after being approached by Lea Campbell, with the Mississippi Rising Coalition.
“What I’m hoping is that people will see there are many different perspectives on this flag, and they’ll leave here having more arguments in their head than they came with,” said Douglas.
Those who want the flag changed said it represents a dark past in Mississippi. “Why can’t we sit down and come up with a flag that’s agreeable with everybody,” said panelist James Crowell, who is the President of the Biloxi Chapter of the NAACP. “It is a relic whose place is in the halls of museums, not flown above public places or used as a representation of a melting pot of people that call Mississippi home,” said one woman.
Representatives of the Mississippi division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Dixie Alliance spoke in favor of keeping the current state flag design.
Watch comments made by each of the panelists here: http://www.sunherald.com/news/local/counties/harrison-county/article131877654.html
Together with US citizens in over 100 cities, MS Gulf Coast citizens of all ages, races, genders and abilities sent a message to our leaders and the world following the 2016 election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America, that the United States stands for values of human decency, equal rights and freedom from discrimination. The Gulf Coast Women’s March and the Women’s Marches across the country showcased the strength and wisdom that our country has to offer when we embrace our neighbors and our difference and come together to promote the common good.
Spearheaded by local advocacy organizations including Mississippi Rising Coalition, the march brought together people across the region, particularly women of all backgrounds, races, religions, ages and abilities, as well as communities of immigrants, people of color, and people who identify as LGBTQIA.
The USM chapter of the Student Association of Social Workers hosted the Your Voice, Your Vote forum on Oct. 25 which included a screening of a film about the struggle of African Americans to attain voting rights during the Civil Rights Movement followed by a forum, including panelists from the MS ACLU, Mississippi Rising Coalition, the National Association of Social Workers and the USM Department of Social Work.
This event’s goal was to encourage, educate and spark conversation about the voting process in Mississippi and the link between voting, public policy and the quality of life and civil rights of Mississippians.
On September 24, MRC partnered with the Steps Coalition, the League of Women Voters, the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance and the Biloxi NAACP to educate and register voters. The documentary, “Selma: Bridge to the Ballot Box” was used to educate citizens on African Americans’ long and often violent struggle to be awarded voting rights during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s in the US South, followed by a panel discussion related to the history of voting rights.
One attendee, Jackie Washington said, “We cannot make a change even here in Harrison County unless we’re registered to vote.”
“We hope by shedding some light on the history and the sacrifices that people made, that will energize people and help them realize what their vote means,” said Lea Campbell with the Mississippi Rising Coalition.