JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Since 1943, the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce said they have been the voice of business across the county, and now they are using their voice to shed light on their opinion of the state flag.
On Flag Day, June 14, the chamber of commerce put out a statement in favor of changing Mississippi’s state flag. The statement highlighted the fact that they stand by the Mississippi Economic Council’s (MEC) stance in that they believe the flag should be different.
“The presence of the Confederate Battle Flag as a component of the 1894 flag is offensive to many, not representative of all Mississippians, and perpetuates negative stereotypes of our state... MEC and the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce feel strongly that adoption of a new flag is a timely and high profile action that would improve Mississippi’s image, advance a new narrative about our state, and set the stage to enhance economic opportunities and improve quality of life in a fair and inclusive manner for every Mississippian. The current flag is harmful to Mississippi’s image and reputation for those outside our state and is hurtful to many fellow Mississippians,” MEC’s statement said.
The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce said they believe picking a new flag to represent the state is the right thing to do and they “must embrace the movement of inclusion we are witnessing across our country.”
“It is so important that we have a state flag that can be embraced by all of our citizens and by all of our nation," Paige Roberts told WLOX Sunday.
“It’s really difficult to sell Jackson County when we’re flying a flag that is not a statement of unity. We must embrace this movement of inclusion that’s going on nationwide and this is the opportunity for Mississippi to step up," said Roberts, who serves as the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO.
Roberts isn’t the only member of the Jackson County community who expressed similar feelings.
“It’s always going to be that racial issue there as long as that flag is up. So I think they should change it," said resident Ruby Johnson. "I’m 65 years old. I’ve been there, I’ve done that and I want them to change it. Stop it. Stop the racism, look what’s going on now.”
Moss Point Mayor Mario King also released a statement regarding the state flag, saying “I stand with the corporations, communities, and individuals who seek the redesign of our Mississippi State Flag, which is currently a representation of our painful and detrimental past.”