DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - With civil rights in America and the world under deep examination, there’s a renewed push to change the Mississippi state flag and remove the Confederate emblem currently displayed on it.
Governor Tate Reeves says it should be up to a vote by the people of Mississippi to change the flag, but voters and lawmakers alike are working towards swift action.
“It represents hate, intolerance, bigotry,” said Duvalier Malone, Mississippi native.
Malone started a petition five years ago to remove the Confederate emblem from Mississippi’s state flag.
Fast forward to 2020, and some big name support is also calling for change. This week, Mississippi Speaker of the House Philip Gunn said he supports a bipartisan resolution by lawmakers to change the flag, and he’s not the only one.
Mississippi Today reported three longtime, retired leaders of three of the state's largest universities Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss are reaching out to alumni, advocating for change.
Thursday morning, interfaith clergy called on lawmakers for change.
"We call on our elected leaders to act now and unite the people of Mississippi,” said Bishop Brian Seage, Episcopal Church of Mississippi.
"The people of Mississippi in 2001 went to the polls and made a decision to keep the current flag, that was a decision the people of Mississippi,” said Governor Tate Reeves.
Reeves believes despite the bipartisan push, the decision should be left up to a vote by the people of Mississippi.
"When the people believe it’s time to change the flag is when the flag will be changed,” said Reeves.
The people are letting their voices be heard with lawmakers.
"We all are being bombarded with respect to emails, phone calls and things of that nature. It’s a big issue and I think it’s time for us to tackle it,” said Rep. Chris Bell.
Meantime, Malone says he would like to see the governor’s actions speak louder than his words.
"But the governor is not willing to use his executive power to unify the state and bring down the confederate flag,” said Malone.
When it comes to legislation for change the deadline to pass bills out of committee has passed, but that bipartisan group of lawmakers is discussing the possibility of requesting a suspension of the rules to file a resolution to change the flag.