September 19, 2020

Mississippi county supervisor takes knee during Pledge of Allegiance to pray for ‘divided’ community

NATCHEZ — As Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong gave the Pledge of Allegiance Monday at the Adams County Board of Supervisors meeting, supervisor Ricky Gray faced the flag and knelt in prayer.

After the meeting, the District 4 Supervisor said he was praying for the community, as he had been doing during the prayer before the pledge.

“It is no secret we are divided as a community,” Gray said. “Every me I look up, I am hearing about things in the community about this group and that group. It seems like we are so against each other.

“I just wanted to kneel and pray for our community. The only way we are going to get to where we are going is through prayer.”

Gray said he has been hearing about Natchez United, a recently formed group aiming to improve both public education and the economy. While he would not name them, Gray said he has heard of another group that has formed in reaction to Natchez United.

“I don’t want to put out what I heard,” Gray said. “I will let them put it out. But it is not good.

“This is real serious. If we don’t come together and stop all this, we are going to tear our community up.”

Gray said the community is not divided along racial lines because of the Natchez‐Adams School District, but recent issues are causing more people to mobilize on black and white sides.

“My thought is this: At the end of the day, if it is not a win‐win for the community, then we don’t need to be doing it,” Gray said. “We have a great community. We are not going to agree on everything. But we can’t have this closed-minded, ‘this is how it is going to be,’ and it affect everyone in the community.”

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