Student groups at the University of Mississippi in Oxford will rally Friday afternoon in order to bring attention to a cause they believe is worthy of national attention the removal of the state flag from the campus.
Mississippi is the only state in the Union that still has the Confederate battle flag as part of the official state flag. Georgia was the second to last state to rid its state flag of Confederate iconography and did so in 2003.
At 12:30 CST on Friday, numerous progressive student groups and those associate with minority including the campus chapter of the NAACP will be rallying in front of a well-known Confederate Statue in the Circle, a historical central location on campus.
The organizations, which include the Black Student Union, UM Pride Network, College Democrats and others want the Associated Student Body, the student government of Ole Miss to pass a resolution that would call for the removal of the state flag from campus.
Allen Coon is a student senator and also the president of the campus College Democrats chapter. He authored the resolution and has helped organize the event.
As a native Mississippian, the fight is a personal one for Coon.
“I love my state and I care about it deeply. But every-time, I see that flag it reminds me that we are promoting a perspective that led to a war of injustice and pain,” Coon said in a phone interview with Rise News. “And that’s not representative of my Mississippi and that’s why it has to change.”
According to the Daily Mississippian, there are 49 student senators in the Associated Student Body. That would mean that at least 25 of them would have to vote in favor of taking down the flag in order for the resolution to pass. Coon told Rise News that it would be a difficult fight to win the vote in the student senate.
“If this resolution fails, then it will bring a lot more scrutiny on the campus from a national perspective,” Coon said. “The very test of a symbol is that it should be divisive. On that basis alone, it is grounds enough to take down the flag.”
“When people think of Ole Miss I don’t want them to think, ‘oh that’s a racist school,’” Buka Okoye, the president of the Ole Miss NAACP said in an interview with Daily Mississippian reporter Dawn Boddie. “Therefore, what are we doing to rid ourselves of that image?”
According to the Mississippi Business Journal, five other public universities in the state do not currently fly the official state flag: Delta State University, Mississippi State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University and Alcorn State University.
Even if student government passes the resolution, it will be up to campus administrators to make the final decision.
Rise News is looking for a few Ole Miss students to report for us during the rally on Friday afternoon. If you are interested then please email email@example.com with a phone number and we will get back to very quickly.
Read: Proposed Ole Miss student government resolution to take down state flag on campus
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