Coast NAACP chapter gathers signatures for a new flag

Coast NAACP chapter gathers signatures for a new flag
(Photo Source: WLOX file)

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Members of the Hancock County branch of the NAACP gathered in Bay St. Louis on Saturday in hopes of gaining support for a flag they say is more representative of all Mississippians.

The local chapter were encouraging residents to sign a petition in support of Initiative 55, a ballot measure that aims to remove the confederate battle emblem from the current state flag by changing Mississippi's constitution. The group were also registering people to vote.

"They can keep the flag but put it in a museum," urged Eric Nichols, a member of the Hancock County NAACP.

Nichols invited the public to sign the petition supporting the creation of a state flag that does not contain or include any reference to the Confederacy.

More than 100 thousand signatures in support of the ballot initiative must be gathered in order for state residents to vote on the issue in the November election.

A statewide movement is currently in place to gather those signatures before the Aug. 1 deadline.

Although the Coast group only gathered 70 signatures on Saturday, they were able to garner 556 signatures recently in Gulfport at the Good Deeds Center. They remain hopeful that, with the help of other volunteers located throughout the state, the Flag For All Mississippians' movement will be successful.

Why should we oppose this on people and they oppose the rebel flag on us?," questioned Danin Benoit, also a member of the NAACP. "Why can't we be just America?"

Supporters to change the state flag will be in Pascagoula on Monday at the Jackson County Board of Supervisors to vote on the initiative.

Over 50 pastors across the state, including some on the coast, have offered their support to the movement, as well.

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