As part of an annual tradition, flags from every state in the union are raised in Liberty State Park, N.J., which has a clear view of the Statue of Liberty. However, this year, there was one flag missing: the flag of Mississippi.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy ordered that Mississippi's flag not be raised due to its inclusion of the Confederate battle emblem, according to NJ.com. It is the last state flag in the United States to include the rebel flag.
“The Confederate symbol displayed on the Mississippi State flag is reprehensible and does not reflect our values of inclusivity and equality,” Murphy said in a statement.
The governor went on to argue that New Jersey is "rooted in our diverse communities," and said that the United States flag would fly where the missing Mississippi flag was meant to be placed.
Many in Mississippi — including Republican candidate for attorney general, Andy Taggart — are pushing to change the state's flag. "That is not an accurate snapshot of our state," Taggart told the Clarion Ledger. "But that is exactly what some people conclude when they see the snapshot." If elected attorney general, Taggart would have no power to change the flag, but believes such a change would prevent young people from leaving the state.
State Sen. Sandra Cunningham, D-Hudson, has been one of the many voices who has opposed raising the Mississippi flag because of its Confederate inclusion.
“The Confederate flag symbolizes an era of hate, violence, and division,” Cunningham told NJ.com. “I thank Gov. Murphy for his commitment to tolerance and equality and for the decision to remove this hateful symbol from Liberty State Park. Hate has no home in New Jersey.” Murphy, in turn, thanked Cunningham for bringing the issue to his attention.
In 2001, the majority of Mississippi citizens voted to keep the flag. However, according to the Spokesman-Review, over the years, an increasing number of cities and counties have chosen not to fly it.
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