“This is not a political moment to me, but a solemn occasion to lead our Mississippi family to come together to be reconciled and to move on,” Reeves, a Republican, stated earlier than he signed the laws.
A fee will now develop a brand new flag design with out the Confederate emblem that features the phrase “In God, We Trust.” Mississippi voters will vote on the brand new design in November.
“I know there are people of goodwill who are not happy to see this flag changed. They fear a chain reaction of events erasing our history — a history that is no doubt complicated and imperfect,” Reeves stated Tuesday.
“I understand those concerns and am determined to protect Mississippi from that dangerous outcome.”
The flag of the Confederacy, its symbols and the statues commemorating Confederate leaders have lengthy divided the nation. Critics name the flag an emblem that represents the battle to uphold slavery, whereas supporters name it an indication of Southern satisfaction and heritage.
The symbols have more and more develop into a rallying name for white supremacists.
In current weeks, the police killing of George Floyd has spurred the removing — by protesters in some instances and metropolis leaders in others — of contentious statues and Confederate symbols which have upset some residents for many years, if not longer.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25 in Minneapolis. While being arrested, Floyd was held down by a White Minneapolis police officer’s knee for greater than eight minutes. His loss of life in police custody, which was captured on video, has prompted widespread conversations about systemic racism.
“I reject the mobs tearing down statues of our history — North and South, Union and Confederate, Founding Fathers and veterans. I reject the chaos and lawlessness and I am proud it has not happened in our state,” Reeves stated.
“I also understand the need to commit the 1894 flag to history and find a banner that is a better emblem for all Mississippi.”
The signing was praised by a bipartisan assortment of lawmakers Tuesday.
Republican Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker tweeted, “This is a historic & long-awaited day for Mississippi.”
“I appreciate our state legislators for having the courage and conviction to make this necessary change to our state flag,” he stated. “As I have maintained since 2015, Mississippians deserve a banner that unites us rather than divides us.”
That message was echoed by State Rep. Jeramey Anderson, a Democrat from Moss Point, who applauded the laws however cautioned, “We’re not done.”
“The work continues to end voter suppression, as well as health care and education disparities in black & brown communities,” he stated. “This is step one!”
The American Civil Liberties Union additionally celebrated the transfer as foreshadowing “a new day for Mississippi” in an announcement to CNN.
“It signifies to everyone to come work, play, and live in Mississippi, the Hospitality state.”
Still, Confederate Memorial Day and Robert E. Lee’s birthday stay official state holidays in Mississippi and proceed to immediate a bigger debate about find out how to acknowledge the state’s historical past.
Reeves acknowledged that debate Tuesday, declaring “there are people on either side of the flag debate who may never understand the other” however the state “must show empathy.”
“We must understand that all who want change are not attempting to erase history and all who want the status quo are not mean spirited or hateful.”
This story has been up to date with extra info Tuesday.
CNN’s Jamiel Lynch contributed to this report.