With recent marches gone bad and violence being the outcome, the newspaper feels that the idea of hosting a “Unity March” from Magee High School to the bank downtown is not a good idea. In the same way, we felt that hosting a “Black Lives Matter”event in Mendenhall was not a good idea given the circumstances that were unfolding. Too much is going on in the nation right now, and we do not want to be the next site of racial confrontation.
If for some reason the march were to get out of hand it could end with confrontation such as we have not seen since the 1960s, which is something none of us old enough to remember want to see again in Simpson County.
We are quite sure that the message behind the Unity March is well intended, but you can never tell what may happen, so we choose to err on the side of caution.
Simply put, if you don’t host the march now there will be less likelihood of an event getting out of hand.
We found out about the first march that was scheduled two weeks ago for June 25 at 5:30 p.m. It was cancelled because of rain. The notice appeared on the Magee High School web page. This would lead you to believe that it was sanctioned by the schools. It was calling for football players, cheerleaders and students to turn out and show their support.
We started researching to find out why it was being promoted on the school’s web-site. It was not sanctioned by the superintendent’s office nor did they have knowledge that the event was being held. We are told that it was planned to show that our community comes together and supports everyone. But an event like this after the flag issue could turn volatile and that would not be good for anyone in the community.
Last week we learned of an effort by the Magee Touchdown Club to host another unity march. This time an official organization was sponsoring the event.
We called the school district back and again they were not aware nor were they sanctioning this march. However, it will tie back to the school and the district should anything bad happen. Like the first time, the event was canceled because of rain.
We advocate for freedom of speech and the right of peaceful assembly, but with what is going on nationwide now is not a good time and that does not even address the pandemic for which Simpson County is now a hot spot. The timing is bad.