/MEC unfurls bicentennial banner Could a new state flag be next

MEC unfurls bicentennial banner Could a new state flag be next

The banner was unfurled by staff from the MEC, the state’s chamber for commerce. This was to much applause at the annual Hobnob event. The state seal is displayed on the banner’s three horizontal blue, white and red bars. The flag’s left side reads “Established 1817” while the right reads “2017 Bicentennial.” This unveiling may not be a big deal in other states. It is a big deal in Mississippi, the only state to have not removed the Confederate flag emblem from its state flag. A few business leaders gathered near the stage to discuss whether the banner could eventually replace the state flag before the flag was taken off the stage. In 2001, Mississippians voted nearly 2-to-1 to keep their current state flag intact. The MEC was instrumental in removing the Confederate emblem from state flag. MEC President Blake Wilson pointed out that the purpose of the bicentennial banner wasn’t to replace the state flag. However, it might lead to discussion about possible changes. Wilson stated, “You have a brand that disenfranchises 37% of your population (who is African Americans), so why would that brand be used?” It’s not a brand that unites people. This is not a suggestion or push for an alternative flag. We are suggesting that this banner might be used to celebrate another flag. We’ll see where it takes us after that, and what discussions that stimulates, and what that helps attract to. Wilson stated that the conceptualization and design of the banner had been underway since early summer. Gov. After his speech at July’s Neshoba County Fair, Phil Bryant told Mississippi Today that the idea was still being considered. Bryant suggested that the banner could be displayed above Jackson’s Civil Rights Museum which is due to open in 2017. Bryant stated in July that people will begin to adjust to the banner after we unveil it. It’s a banner so state agencies and city halls can fly it. Wilson stated that the banner was designed by Allan Hammons of Greenwood’s marketing company. MEC has begun giving the banners to local businesses in various sizes. They have ordered 200 banners in various sizes. MEC will be reaching out to other state businesses in the coming weeks to gauge interest. Wilson stated that he had told Bryant about the idea in the summer. However, MEC has not collaborated with Bryant’s office regarding the banner design or implementation. Although he did not respond immediately to questions regarding Wednesday’s banner, Wilson has maintained that he believes the flag issue should be returned to the Mississippians for their decision. The flag has been removed from all but one of eight state public universities, Delta State University. Numerous other city and town halls in the state have also done the same. 19 bills related to the state flag were killed in committee during the 2016 legislative session before reaching the floor for votes. House Speaker Philip Gunn is the most prominent politician currently to oppose the state banner. He was not available for comment Wednesday. Meg Annison spoke for Gunn and said that the speaker stands behind his statements in support of changing the state flag. Gunn stated in February that he has not changed his opinion about the need for a new flag to represent Mississippi. “I have had conversations with many House members individually and collectively, and tried to persuade them to accept my views. … The flag will change. It is up to us to deal with it immediately or for the future. Wilson stated that he believes the state must address the issue now. He also said that he chose three young MEC staffers to unveil the flag to announce Wednesday’s announcement. Wilson said that he hears complaints about the state flag from Mississippi businesses “all the time.” He hopes the flag will soon change. Wilson stated that it is a problem for multi-state employers, especially because many of them have strong anti-discrimination policies. We will eventually be able to work out a solution. While we are open to any discussion, this is not meant to be an alternative to the flag. It may spark a discussion about other designs that may be suggested. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think. Republish this Story You can freely republish our articles online or in print under a Creative Commons licence. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Mississippi Today, Adam Ganucheau
October 26, 2016, Adam Ganucheau is Mississippi Today’s editor in chief. He oversees the newsroom with the editorial staff to achieve our mission of producing journalism that is both high-quality and public-interest. Since February 2016, Adam Ganucheau has been covering politics and state government at Mississippi Today. A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for AL.com, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adam received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Mississippi. Flags were never the problem, was it? Some dick decided to build a church, and people go flag crazy for or against it. Why is it that we now blame a material cloth for the country’s race problems after the problem of flags didn’t arise until the 2000s? Is it not obvious that hatred is embedded in our hearts and that racism is practiced by all races, creeds, and sexual orientations? All forms of racism exist.