Coast youth organization marches for civil rights and against state flag

Coast youth organization marches for civil rights and against state flag

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A new youth organization on the Coast has set some big goals to support and protect civil rights and continue the fight against the state flag.

And if today's turnout, despite the bad weather, is an example, members have plenty of resolve.

This is the first protest event for members of the newly created Southern Youth Commission.

"The Southern Youth Commission is just kind of like a group of like-minded teens that kind of came together noticing that there were problems on the Coast, such as I guess the flying of the state flag with the Confederate emblem," said member Elizabeth Van Horn. "And we all had, I guess, the same sentiments of wanting to change that."

Charles McLean is the founder and organizer of the march.

"We just want everyone to know that the youth actually cares about their future, and we're concerned," he said.

Even teens from other groups came in solidarity.

"I try and stand up for whatever cause that I can and lend my support to whatever it is," said Quintin Harry. "And the main hope is just so that more people are willing to stand up and actually join in on these protests."

The student group has leaned on advice and help from other organizations, including the Mississippi Rising Coalition.

And founder Lea Campbell is impressed.

"It's fantastic. I couldn't be happier," she said. "These are young people who are just old enough to vote, and it's really energizing to see these young people sort of take the mantle and really want to get involved. This is what needs to happen."

But members have learned to expect an even bigger challenge than a storm: pushback from their peers.

"Honestly, it encourages me even more because I've come to learn at first, I thought this was kind of just, like, them," Van Horn said. "But I've learned that some people just don't understand, and they need those groups of people to kind of reinforce, I guess, what's right and what's wrong."

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