JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The debate over the now retired state flag is heating up. Recently, lawmakers voted to change the state flag but not everyone is happy about that.
Saturday a “Let Mississippi Vote” rally was held to push for a referendum and to hopefully give Mississippians a voice in the process.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the State Capitol for the rally.
Let Mississippi Vote is a grassroots group of statewide volunteers who are fighting to give voters the right to decide which flag represents Mississippi.
They are also upset about lawmakers voting to change the now retired state flag with the Confederate battle emblem.
“The worst part is the lies. We were told by so many, especially the ones that were changing the flag, that they would never take away your right to vote and we heard that up to two weeks before they did exactly that and we need to hold these people accountable.”
Last month, the state retired its former state flag. Since then, a commission has been formed to pick a new flag and Friday the top 9 designs were selected.
Senator Chris McDaniel says the process is taking away the voice of the voters.
“I think we owe it to history to push back against a movement like that. And ultimately, in my mind, it is not about a flag at all, this is about the people having a voice. Ultimately we will be pleased with whatever the people decide, it’s just to take the issue away from them causes more harm in the long run then it should.”
Senator Joey Fillingane couldn’t agree more.
“This issue should go on the ballot for the State of Mississsippi to decide, and if they vote to change the flag at least people can buy into they will know it was there decision and they make it themselves, and it wasn’t something forced upon them by the politicians here in Jackson and by the outside interests of Washington and New York City.”
The rally was not only held to bring awareness to the issue but also kick off the initiative.
They are fighting for those who want a referendum to give Mississippians a voice regarding changing the state flag.
“We have something we can do about it. We have a ballot initiative. We have a way letting the people in that building know that the people on this lawn are more powerful than them.”
“What happens is this, before there is a vote before and before people can actually have a chance to get a vote, there has to be a petition drive and more than 100,000 signatures have to be collected across the state by registered voters. Once that happens, if all goes well, we will put it on the ballot at some point in time on a future date and the people can decide once and for all.