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Tuesday night, Organizations protested against the Mississippi state flag in Ocean Springs prior to the board of aldermen meeting.
During that meeting, Mayor Shea Dobson challenged the media to ‘report both sides of the story.’
Mayor Shea Dobson questioned the media as to why we did not ask the anti-flag protestors why they have not taken their actions to our state capitol and offer a petition to change the flag.
News 25 reached out to Lea Campbell to pass on this question and this is part of her response: “Apparently the mayor is assuming we haven’t been to the capitol or reached out to state leadership for discussion. We’ve been doing that consistently since 2015. There was an attempt to gain signatures in 2015 for flag change (initiative 52), along with a pro-flag initiative (initiative 48), both of which did not obtain the requisite number of signatures. Mississippi citizens from across the state have also organized multiple rallies at the capitol during every legislative session since 2015, and in between legislative sessions, most recently in October, calling for our elected state legislators to address this issue.”
Mayor Dobson sent us back his response with: “As a political activist, I have spent the past ten years walking hundreds of miles for causes i believe in. Why can’t they? Their ultimate goal is to change the flag and the city of Ocean Springs has taken action in making a new vote possible. This alt-left radical group seems more interested in identity politics and playing the race card than they are with actually working to get a new vote.”

Here is Campbell’s full statement: “Apparently the Mayor is assuming we haven’t been to the capitol or reached out to state leadership for discussion. We’ve been doing that consistently since 2015. There was an attempt to gain signatures in 2015 for flag change (Initiative 52), along with a pro-flag initiative (Initiative 48), both of which did not obtain the requisite number of signatures. MS citizens from across the state have also organized multiple rallies at the capitol during every legislative session since 2015, and in between legislative sessions, most recently in October, calling for our elected state legislators to address this issue. We’ve conducted email and call-in campaigns to state leadership and legislators, and we’ve had meetings with our state representatives. The current state flag was adopted by the legislature in 1894, and it can be changed by the legislature in 2018. The narrative pushed by pro-flag entities that is must be changed by referendum is false, but nevertheless, the Governor has stated he wants the issue to go on the ballot in 2018, so we expect that it will.
Our continued work to push for change at the state level does not preclude us from addressing the display of the flag in municipalities. Mayors like Mr. Dobson, per state statute, have executive authority as the democratically elected superintendents of municipal properties to decide which flags are displayed in their cities. Mayors in multiple other cities across the state, including Republican Mayors Fofo Gilich of Biloxi and Toby Barker of Hattiesburg, have had the courage and political independence to take it down or leave it down because they know it’s their responsibility to act in their community’s best interests– socially and economically. Mayor Dobson took the flag down a few weeks ago stating he recognized it was in the best interest of Ocean Springs, but then failed to stand behind that decision when he chose not to veto the resolution passed by the BOA.
We will continue to push for flag change at the state level as well as flag removal from Ocean Springs municipal properties. As we’ve stated to the Mayor and Aldermen multiple times, we would welcome an invitation to the table for dialogue. In the meantime, we’ll continue to use our power as united citizens to pursue other avenues for change.”


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