GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The battle over the Mississippi State flag continued Thursday night at public rally to push for removal of the Confederate battle flag.
It was just one of many rallies planned, and organizers are well aware they have a long road ahead of them.
"There is no doubt that this is a big challenge," said Lea Campbell, the Gulf Coast coordinator for the event sponsor, The Flag for All Mississippians Coalition. "But a multitude of economic and civic organizations have come out in support of this, and the public support is really starting the grow. Momentum is really growing on this, so we're very, very optimistic."
The One Flag for All rally at the Good Deeds Community Center in Gulfport drew about 100 people. It was co-sponsored by WJZD FM.
The coalition is hoping that the Mississippi Legislature will take direct action on the issue in November this year, but it is not depending on it.
The rally is part of a statewide effort to get 107,216 signatures by the end of August to put Initiative 55 on the ballot in 2018. The Initiative seeks to amend the state constitution that would exclude the Confederate symbol from the state flag.
Sharon Brown, founder of the coalition who originally pushed for Initiative 55, says the ultimate goal is worth the effort.
"When you have a symbol that represents a small portion of people who want to keep the flag based on their stance that it's part of their heritage, well, it's not part of everyone's heritage."