"All those things are real, but the bottom line is this is just the right thing to do". In the weeks since the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, protesters across the country have demanded systemic changes in policing while seeking to remove symbols of oppression. Gov. Tate Reeves is expected to sign the bill into law.
And in recent weeks, huge pressure mounted from religious, business, civic, university, sports and other leaders to remove the Confederate emblem from the flag.
"I would never have thought that I would see the flag come down in my lifetime", Democratic Sen. Derrick Simmons, citing his family tree's deep roots in MS and said his sons, age 1 and 6, should not have to be educated, live and work beneath a Confederate symbol. 'Let´s vote today for the MS of tomorrow'. "I ask each of you as we recognize the MS of yesterday let us vote today for the MS of tomorrow".
Mississippi's House and Senate voted Sunday to retire the flag adopted in 1894. The bill now heads to Governor Tate Reeves, who has indicated that he will sign it. Along with many committed Mississippians, I have fought for decades to change the flag, most notably during the flag referendum 20 years ago.
Jefferson Davis' great-great-grandson, Bertram Hayes-Davis, said the state's flag should be changed, explaining that the "battle flag has been hijacked" and doesn't "represent the entire population of MS".
The goal of the bill is to get the new flag design on ballots in November. Nevertheless, the current flag's opponents rejoiced at winning the main point: ridding the state of a reminder it once fought on behalf of a government dedicated to slavery.
Business groups said the banner hinders economic development in one of the poorest states in the nation.
Ms. Brown and Ms. Campbell were among those on hand in the legislative galleries Sunday.
HB 1796 requires the current flag be removed within 15 days of the bill's passing.
Republican Sen. Chris McDaniel, who also pushed for a statewide vote, said: "You have to let the people have their say sometimes if for no other reason than to diffuse their anger". Legislators said the close margin willing to suspend Senate rules delayed voting on rules suspension.
He tweeted: 'The argument over the 1894 flag has become as divisive as the flag itself and it's time to end it'.
One could argue that adopting a flag in 2020 with "In God We Trust" is problematic, both on First Amendment grounds and as an insult to non-believers.