Thirty-four current and former student-body executives from universities across Mississippi have penned an open letter to state lawmakers about the Mississippi flag: “Remove and replace the current flag that contains the symbol of the Confederacy.” In the letter, these leaders demand that lawmakers replace the flag with one that is representative of all Mississippians.
“Rather than bear the scars of past sins, our state flag should reflect that Mississippi’s best days are ahead,” the letter tells Mississippi lawmakers. “And that those better days can only become a reality through understanding our shared values and working together to better our schools, our communities, and, ultimately—our state. Most importantly, a state rich in diversity, having one of the largest populations of African-Americans in the country, deserves a flag that celebrates such diversity.”
In an interview with the Mississippi Free Press today, former Mississippi University for Women Student Government Association President John Jacob Miller explained his efforts and that of his colleagues.“The open letter is an action of advocacy and solidarity taken by current and former student government executives and government presidents who understand the need for a state flag that is representative of all of Mississippi citizens, and understand how important that is not only for the present of our state, but the future,” Miller explained.
He said students from across Mississippi have been demanding this change for years.
“We were encouraged not to speak out in our official capacity because of the repercussions it would have on our institutions and the (Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning) as a whole,” Miller said. “Well, now we no longer officially represent our institutions or the IHL. We feel that it is the most important time to make our voices heard, and make sure that the voices of an entire generation of Mississippians are heard.”
The letter ends by telling lawmakers directly to not waste time. “While we are the future of this great state, you are the present. As lawmakers, you have the unique responsibility to decide how Mississippi meets this moment. This time, let’s get it right.”
These student leaders are still awaiting a response from state lawmakers.