Harrison County supervisors takes first step to address state flag concerns

Updated: Jun. 17, 2020 at 5:46 PM CDT
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HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - At the end of Wednesday’s Harrison County Board of Supervisors meeting, supervisor Kent Jones took a detour from the planned agenda.

Jones requested a resolution to change the state flag and submit that resolution to the state legislature.

The board will vote on the resolution July 6.

“I think the time is right,” he said. “The majority of the folks now realize that it’s a divisive symbol, it’s a divisive flag and we want to be more progressive, more inclusive.”

Now that more cities, including Gulfport, have taken down the state flag that displays the Confederate symbol in the wake of protests over the death of George Floyd, the pressure is mounting for the county to do the same.

“I speak for myself and I speak for many others. No disrespect to anyone else, but you disrespect me as long as we’re flying the Confederate flag,” Jones said.

In addition, Jones wants the board to take down the current state flag, which the county has the discretion to do, and remove the Confederate monument that has been standing since 1911.

On Friday, there will be a planned protest of the statue by the Mississippi Rising Coalition.

“There’s five years of history with the Confederacy - with all due respect to that - but there’s 400 years of history for myself and my ancestors, and I think that should be highlighted as well, but it’s not,” Jones said.

Board president Connie Rockco admitted this situation is a difficult one.

“This is our state flag,” she said. “If people want to change that flag, I think we should vote on it and change it.”

She also said the problem goes deeper than a symbol.

“Unity is very important,” she said. “I just feel in my heart that maybe the flag is not what’s going to solve our problems. The monuments - taking them down or leaving them up - is not going to solve the problem. It’s in our heart.... Nothing is more important to me than having our country come together again.”

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