In the midst of racial conflict involving law enforcement nationwide, the governor is encouraging Mississippians to build relationships with people from other ethnic groups.
For more than 20 years Mission Mississippi, a Christian organization, has worked to promote racial reconciliation. President Neddie Winters says they're making progress, but racial wounds are still being passed from generation to generation.
"We've talked about it. We've talked at it. We talk about each other and we talk at each other. We have not intentionally sat down to the table together and built relationships that are based on trust, respect and honesty that we can get beyond it," said Winters.
Winters joined Governor Phil Bryant at the state capitol to proclaim October "Racial Reconciliation Celebration Month." They want Mississippians to get out of their comfort zone and intentionally develop meaningful relationships with people from another race. But can Mississippians heal with a state flag that many blacks and others find racially divisive. Governor Bryant.
"It may be the thing that begins the conversation. There are good people of faith that are in church everyday that are loving caring people that believe in the Mississippi state flag, that voted for it, that support it. There are people the same condition, that go to church, they're loving and caring that may not support the flag. They can sit down and talk about that. A lot of people want to use it as a wedge. I think it might be an opportunity for people to sit down and talk about racial reconciliation," said Bryant.
Mission Mississippi is asking congregations to host events at churches of another race, have pastor swaps and other activities.