MOSELLE, Mademoiselle (WDAM) – 2020 has been a year we won’t forget and one for the history books.
One of the biggest stories of this year, the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, Mississippi reported its first case of the coronavirus and in April, Governor Tate Reeves issued a statewide shelter-in-place order for Magnolia state.
âPlease stay home,â Reeves said. âIf you can stay home, please stay home.
As state governments issued restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19, the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May has fueled a movement.
Across the country and in the Pine Belt, people came together and marched against racial injustice and police brutality.
âThis is what you are seeing right now, we are the ones who come together to make a difference,â said one Hattiesburg resident. “We need a difference.”
Floyd’s death resulted in the removal of many contentious statues across the United States. In the Pine Belt, residents of several counties also expressed their views on Confederate monuments.
“We are not here to destroy this monument, but it is no longer representative of the people who live in Heidelberg,” a Jasper County resident said of a Confederate monument in Heidelberg.
As nationwide protests continued into June, attention shifted to the Confederate Battle emblem on the Mississippi state flag. Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee was one of the first in the Pine Belt to remove the flag from all buildings in the city.
âThey told Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] to wait, the time to wait is over, âMagee said.
Days later, state lawmakers voted to remove the flag and left it up to voters to decide on the next design.
âA flag is a symbol of our present, our people and our future,â Reeves said. “For these reasons, we need a new symbol.”
Another hot topic this year is the legalization of medical cannabis in Mississippi. Some were against it, others for.
âIf you believe in God, you believe that God put these herbs so that man could use them,â said one resident.
In November, a majority of Mississippi voters approved Initiative 65 and also chose a new state flag.
“I think this is the start of something new,” said Mayor Toby Barker. âI think it’s recognition of how far we’ve come. I think it’s a recognition of all the courage of so many people who have brought us to this point. It is a testament to the generations of people who lived under a banner that did not really represent them. “
Another monumental moment this year was the approval of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use. In December, Mississippi received the first allocation of 25,000 doses. State health worker Dr Thomas Dobbs was the first person in the state to receive the vaccine.
“I’m just going to say it right now, it’s ugly right now and it’s about to get a lot uglier,” Dobbs said.
While many other events have taken place in the state this year, there is no doubt that 2020 will be remembered for a long time.
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