City to rename holiday: 'That's not the people of Biloxi'

Published: Jan. 14, 2017 at 8:06 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 14, 2017 at 10:00 PM CST
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(Photo source: Facebook)
(Photo source: Facebook)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - As a social media firestorm that sparked in Biloxi rages across the country, city officials are working to douse the flames.

The social media post was innocent enough: Operations would be closed on the third Monday of the month. But not for Martin Luther King, Jr., Day - for Great Americans Day, a designation since 1985.

After thousands of shares and retweets, Biloxi spokesman Vincent Creel says the city instantly became click bait.

"We're being called racist. That's not the people of Biloxi, that is not the mayor, or the city council of Biloxi," Creel said. "It's just unfortunate that we're now being painted with that brush."

Creel says the reaction is disheartening, given that the city has done a lot for the annual MLK celebration. But, a name change is on the way.

"It was an honest error. I think they just pulled the verbiage from it and posted it on the tweet, and when there was a reaction to it, there's no cover up," said councilman Kenny Glavan. "You know, we're all looking at it and saying, 'Hey, we need to change it.'"

The council will meet Monday at 10 a.m. to reconsider the designation; just one hour before the city's annual MLK Day parade.

"It brought a light to everything, which is great," said councilman Felix Gines. "Because it gives us a chance to straighten it out."

Officials hope to avoid any long-term damage.

"We encourage you to come out and live the dream, this is what Dr. King is all about. Dr. King's dream is about fighting, standing in there fighting, not sitting on the sidelines. Fighting to make that change, and we are making that change," noted Gines.

Resident Glenda Crawford says the viral uproar was an overreaction.

"Biloxi is so different than what they made it out to be," Crawford said. "Everybody here sees no color. We're all one here. We all get along as one."

Markita McIntyre understands the reaction because the way of communication nowadays isn't like it was in 1985.

"We have Twitter, we have Instagram, we have Facebook. Everything is more relevant than it was," she said. "We have a right to feel the way we do but it happened so long ago," said McIntyre.

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