Mississippi-born country singer Faith Hill took to Twitter on Thursday demanding that her home state change its flag, as she said that it includes “a direct symbol of terror for our Black brothers and sisters.”
The flag in question consists of three stripes; red, white and blue and is the last of the Southern U.S. states to showcases the Confederate battle emblem in its top right corner — which White supremacists in the Mississippi Legislature put included in 1894 as backlash for the political power African-Americans gained during Reconstruction after the Civil War, according to the Associated Press (AP).
“To the Mississippi legislature: It’s time to change the state flag,” the 52-year-old wrote at the beginning of a brief Twitter thread.
Though it was not explicitly addressed, the Mississippi Girl hit-maker’s call came in response to the ongoing anti-racism and anti-police brutality protests triggered by the death of George Floyd last month.
Floyd, a Black man, died on May 25, after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds during an arrest in Minneapolis. He was 46.
Within the last month, his death, and those of many other Black individuals — including Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor — have helped renew calls to fight systemic racism and put an end to police brutality across the world.
Amid the backdrop of national protests over racial injustice, Mississippi is under increasing pressure from business and religious leaders, sports leagues and others to divorce itself from a symbol that many see as racist, as reported by AP.
Hill is one of the latest to join the call for change.
“It is time for the world to meet the Mississippi of today and not the Mississippi of 1894,” she wrote on Twitter.
Acknowledging those who are opposed to a new flag, Hill continued, “I understand many view the current flag as a symbol of heritage and Southern pride, but we have to realize that this flag is a direct symbol of terror for our Black brothers and sisters.”
The five-time Grammy Award winner urged the Mississippi legislature to vote on Friday for “one new flag. One that represents all of the citizens of Mississippi.”
Mississippi Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann told AP that a new flag would help future generations.
As a substitute for the longstanding Confederate emblem, several Mississippi legislators, including Hosemann, suggested that they use the phrase “In God We Trust,” instead
Attorney General Lynn Fitch said putting the religious phrase on the flag would “reflect the love, compassion and conviction of our people.”
“I am open to bringing all citizens together to determine a banner for our future,” added Hosemann.
Of the controversial symbol, Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum said, “We know this symbol is holding us back in the eyes of citizens all across this nation.
“Citizens around the globe view that symbol as a symbol of hatred and racism,” he concluded.
— With files from the Associated Press