BILOXI -- The group 1 Flag for All will be collecting signatures Monday afternoon at the Coastwide Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag.
"Dr. King's message was all about unity and equality," said Lea Campbell of Ocean Springs, who is heading the effort to gather signatures at the Battle of the Bands, scheduled to begin around 1 p.m. at MGM Stadium on Caillavet Street and Howard Avenue.
"We feel that Mississippi needs a flag that represents those same values of unity and equality. The current flag, unfortunately to many people, is a symbol of division and a symbol of inequality. We think it's time for Mississippi to move forward and remove the Confederate symbol from the flag."
Campbell said the group hopes the state Legislature will vote this session to dispense with the Confederate flag. If not, they hope the Legislature will put the issue to a vote in November 2016, although a previous statewide ballot measure failed. The group is prepared to gather enough signatures for a 2018 vote, Campbell said, if the Legislature refuses to act.
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The 1 Flag group is one of 62 units participating in the MLK parade through downtown Biloxi to the stadium. The parade started at 11 a.m.