Dear Governor Tate Reeves,
We realize the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping you tremendously busy. The same day you signed the executive orders for Mississippians to shelter-in-place, you also signed the Proclamation of Confederate Heritage Month.
We would like to give you the benefit of the doubt that when you signed that proclamation on April 1, you were distracted by caring for the people of our state during this time of crisis.
Will you please take a moment to consider rescinding that proclamation? We realize this COVID-19 crisis is climbing to a fever pitch. We haven’t hit the apex yet. The worst days are still ahead.
But, as was pointed out during your press conference on Wednesday, April 8, our fellow African Americans are being hit very hard by COVID-19. And especially our elderly African Americans.
Please take a moment to reflect on that.
The very Mississippians who suffered through the horrible injustices of the Jim Crow laws of the early 1900s and the inhumane treatment during segregation in the 1950s and 1960s as well as the ensuing discrimination of the following decades, are the same ones who may be facing death in the next few weeks. Can we give them the honor they are long overdue by confessing there are no “successes” to celebrate about a confederacy that was formed to oppress them?
At a time when we need to come together as one in Mississippi to overcome this pandemic, this proclamation not only divides us, but it also wounds African Americans when they most need our support and care.
If you won’t listen to us, will you consider Bishop Stanley Searcy’s example when he joined you for the press conference on Wednesday? He did not want to give up his constitutional right to hold Easter services. But he humbled himself before you and said that if you asked him to cancel services, then he would. Can you do the same with our fellow African American citizens? Can you ask if they want Mississippi to celebrate our Confederate Heritage? And will you humbly agree to do whatever they say? In our opinion, this is the second-best option. This is a problem created by whites that is best made right by whites.
This Sunday we celebrate Jesus humbling Himself on a cross so that He could recover the sight of the blind and set at liberty those who are oppressed.
Governor Reeves, we implore you to follow in Jesus’s footsteps. The days ahead could be another dark time in Mississippi’s history—but you have the power to bring light and hope in the midst of a pandemic. You could lead the way in recovering the sight of our blind eyes, of recognizing how we have oppressed our African American brothers and sisters.
Please rescind this proclamation.
Our prayers are with you,
Jeff and Kim Miller
PS The comments below are open for those who would like for Governor Reeves to rescind the Proclamation of Confederate Heritage month. If you comment, could you also include whether you are a resident of Mississippi or not?