Mississippi teachers union calls state flag ‘racist relic of the past’

Published 2:31 pm Thursday, June 18, 2020

The president of the Mississippi Association of Educators, the state’s teachers union and powerful education lobby, asked teachers across the state to call lawmakers and demand they change the state flag, the last in the nation containing the Confederate battle emblem.

Erica Jones, president of the association, sent an email early Thursday morning to the organization’s thousands of members asking them to “call your state representative and state senator and ask them to support suspending the rules to allow for a bill to change the flag to be considered.”

The call to action comes as a bipartisan group of lawmakers, with House Speaker Philip Gunn’s blessing, is whipping votes and drafting a resolution that would change the state flag.

“Educators are charged with ensuring our students feel safe, cared for, and protected in their schools. That is a daunting task under the best of circumstances,” Jones wrote in the email, which was also posted to the organization’s Facebook page. “When there is a racist relic of the past flying above our schools, it is simply not possible to say we are fulfilling that duty. We would never stand for displaying a symbol of hatred inside of our classrooms. Why should we tolerate it outside of our school buildings, next to the doors our students walk through each and every day?”

Jones continued: “As any of us would tell our students: don’t be a bystander. Be an upstander. If you know something is wrong, speak up. Don’t stand idly by while people are hurting. That’s why we’re calling on lawmakers to do the right thing by speaking up for all of Mississippi’s students and taking down the state flag.”

By Adam Gauncheau, Mississippi Today.