From Floyd to the statues, the thirty days that changed America
The ultras of the current flag have resisted efforts to change it for decades, but what has happened in recent weeks has rapidly changed the dynamics. The great protest movement against racial injustices following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, it also spread to Mississippi (where 38 percent of the population is African American), involving representatives of the business world, religious leaders, principals and teachers of schools and universities and, in the forefront, the world of sport. If there are no surprises, after today’s vote a congressional commission will have to choose a new flag which can no longer include the confederate symbol (emblem of racism and slavery) and which must have the words “In God We Trust“.
Senators and deputies met on Saturday and a two-thirds majority (many Republicans sided with the democratic minority) suspended all legislative deadlines so that they could vote on the flag bill, with a crowd of spectators cheering. Already from the night between Saturday and Sunday an increasingly large crowd – with the two pro and cons factions facing each other – gathered in front of the Capitol of Jackson, the state capital.The mobilization to change the flag has been transversal and many whites have also been part of it. Baptist churches found themselves alongside the state association of real estate agents, well-known white bankers sided with black teachers, a prominent football player from the Mississippi State University said he would no longer play as long as that flag remained on the flagpoles, Kermit Davis, the men’s basketball coach of the Mississippi University, led a sit-in with other members of college sport (very popular in the state) under the Capitol roundabout: “Changing it is the right thing to do”.
Former Miss Missippi team basketball player Blake Hinson said the flag played a key role in his move to Iowa state: “It was time to go and leave Ole Miss. proud to no longer represent that flag and not to be associated with anything that represents the Confederation “.
A decisive push (via Twitter) came from country music star Faith Hill, the blonde and popular 40 million record singer sold, a native of Mississippi. “I understand that many see the current flag as a symbol of Southern heritage and pride, but we must realize that this flag is a direct symbol of terror for our black brothers and sisters.”