Young leaders set example for state

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 26, 2000

It’s a bit ironic. As our state faces yet another polarizing struggle — this time, over the fate of the unofficial-but-widely-recognized state flag — a small group of bright, young people in Natchez is taking a stand to erase the barriers of race.

The emotional battle over the design of the state flag borders on bitterness. For years, our state has flown a flag that includes a symbol historically associated with the Confederacy that carries for some residents a sense of history and for others, a painful reminder of history and hate.

While a gubernatorial commission conducts its study into just what should be on our official state flag (pending a ruling that the flag was never formally adopted as the state flag), a judge’s ruling has cleared the way for a voter referendum on the issue in 2002. And in turn, thousands of empassioned Mississippians are leading a crusade to rally signatures –&160;and support — for a vote that could potentially split our state once again by allowing the electorate to decide if we should keep the widely recognized state flag.

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Meanwhile, the members of the Mayor’s Youth Council are &uot;making a difference&uot; on Saturday with their Rally Against Racism. They’re inviting the public to come listen, just for an hour, as young people and others share their views on how we can break down the barriers of skin color and ethnic background. Coming from the members of a generation recognized nationally for its diversity and fading preconceived notions about race and racism, the rally is a subtle statement.

More important, it is a chance for the older generations to learn a little bit about tolerance, about diversity and about unity … from the generation who will live with the legacy we create today.