Mississippi Rising Coalition faces tough issues in first meeting - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mississippi Rising Coalition faces tough issues in first meeting

Lea Campbell, founder of Mississippi Rising Coalition, listens to a guest speaker at the organization's first meeting in Ocean Springs. (Photo source: WLOX News) Lea Campbell, founder of Mississippi Rising Coalition, listens to a guest speaker at the organization's first meeting in Ocean Springs. (Photo source: WLOX News)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

The Mississippi Rising Coalition has been fighting for equal rights and protection since it formed April.

To headline its first meeting in Ocean Springs, the new group is faced an old foe of equal rights: the Ku Klux Klan.

“How appalling, how absolutely outrageous, that in this day and age, we would have to put up with that kind of hatred,” said Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran.

KKK fliers containing anti-LGBT statements were distributed in Ocean Springs on Sunday.

Moran called for extra security for the meeting, which addressed a crowd of about 70 people.

“My administration and the City of Ocean Springs will not tolerate it, will not put up with it,” Moran said. “We’re here to ensure that everybody is secure and feels safe, and will do everything in our power to make that happen.”

Lea Campbell is the founder and leader for the coalition, which also runs campaigns to change the state flag and to fight the Religious Freedom Act that takes effect July 1.

The KKK is just another battle among many.

“It does reinforce the fact that there’s a lot of work to do here in Mississippi to increase the inclusiveness in the state and to, for the lack of a better phrase, get rid of the hate," said Campbell. 

Ocean Springs resident Bethany Fayard says the coalition will be the go-to organization for many.

“It’s going to combine groups like the Human Rights Campaign, and the Mississippi Rainbow Center, and the other groups on the Gulf Coast to come together to fight these big adversaries like the KKK; which none of us can do probably on our own," said Fayard. 

Campbell says the group will meet once a month across the Coast.

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