Faith Hill has joined a growing chorus of Mississippi natives urging the state to update its flag by removing the Confederate battle emblem.
The country superstar, born in Ridgeland, Mississippi, delivered an impassioned plea to state lawmakers on Twitter Thursday, calling the flag’s current design “a direct symbol of terror” for the Black community.
“Now, it is time for the world to meet the Mississippi of today and not the Mississippi of 1894,” Hill added, referring to the year that the flag was last modified.
Mississippi is the last U.S. state to include the Confederate emblem, interpreted by many as a symbol of white supremacy, on its flag.
Though the emblem’s placement on the flag has been a contentious issue for years, statewide debate over whether it should be removed has heated up in recent weeks, spurred by the nationwide protests over systematic racism. Lawmakers have said the state Senate could vote on a flag redesign measure as early as this weekend.
Mississippi voters were last given an opportunity to make the change through a 2001 public referendum, but 64% voted against it. But since then, the push for the removal of Confederate statues, monuments and insignias has grown and been acted on in several Southern communities. And the demonstrations sparked by the police killing of George Floyd last month in Minneapolis has intensified such efforts.
Earlier this week, Walmart announced the company would no longer display the Confederate flag in any of its Mississippi-based franchises. Similarly, the Mississippi Baptist Convention said lawmakers have a moral obligation to update the state flag’s design because the Confederate emblem has “hurt and shamed” many people.
On Facebook, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said he was “glad that people are expressing their views” about the flag. Any changes, however, should require “a vote of the people,” he said.