A rose to our school administrators who face the incredibly difficult challenge of preparing for the 2020-21 school year, which is set to begin in August. The unknowns are many, and what is “known” now can change within the matter of hours. There is no frame of reference, no precedent to follow in developing their plans at a time when the pandemic is growing in Mississippi and the prospects for the fall even more grim. It’s a delicate balance. Educators must find a way to provide the education our children need while protecting the health of students, faculty and staff. The plans they make will require not only wise choice but flexibility. Our school administrators have never faced a greater, more complicated challenge. We offer our support and encouragement.
A rose to Wilson Beck, who was named this week as president of the Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce. Beck comes to the chamber from Zachary’s Restaurant, where he served as the popular restaurant’s general manager. Prior to that he worked as Ashley Furniture and BancorpSouth. His hands-on experience is sure to provide him insight into the challenges facing local business, which is of heightened importance as organizations struggle to face the ongoing difficulties related to COVD-19. Beck takes over the position from Lisa James, who in three years helped grow membership, engage the broader community through its series of education and candidate forums and provide resources and information on COVID-19. We commend James for her work and are confident Beck will build on the momentum he inherits at this key time in our business community.
A rose of encouragement to our Golden Triangle legislative delegation, which is grabbling with an important issue this weekend: whether to remove the current Mississippi state flag. The Jim Crow-era flag is the only state flag that contains Confederate symbols. The flag has grown more divisive with each passing year. Most of our delegation supports removing the flag through legislation, which we feel is far preferable than passing the buck and letting the voters decide, though that option remains popular among some holdouts in the Legislature. Their position is that they should represent the will of the voters, who they say should be allowed to make the decision at the voting booth. That, we believe, is only part of the mission of a legislator. They are sent to Jackson not to just represent the will of the people, but the best interests of the people as well. When those two obligations are in conflict, as it is with the flag, they should put the best interests of the people above all else. There can be little remaining doubt that the costs of retaining the flag far outweighs the benefits of keeping it. This is beyond dispute, really. We believe, therefore, that our legislators are obligated to vote to remove the flag through legislation because it serves the best interests of their constituents.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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