This decision declaring that April be made as a month in Panola County to celebrate Confederate history and heritage was not a decision that was made with the people of color who live in this county in mind.

Black History month is a month that celebrates diversity and inclusion, while Confederate History and Heritage Month celebrates a shameful history of exclusion. Throughout history, black Americans have been lynched and tortured into silence by people flaunting the stars and bars symbol. Numerous terroristic acts by the KKK have been committed against people of color as they waved that flag on full display in their faces.

Black people are the ones who are directly affected by the consequences of decisions like these that white people like myself don’t have to experience. It is the black children and the black youth that will be the ones in this county who will be subjects to discrimination and hate crimes spawned from this decision.

Everyone in this country knows the history behind what the Confederacy represents and what the symbol of that flag represents. To the people that are okay with this decision, do you really want the rest of the country to view us like this? This is now the image that this county is putting out to the rest of the state and to the rest of the country. I, as an American, strongly urge the people that made this decision to rescind it.

— Jill McLemore, Carthage