Rally shows we can all get along

Published 10:50 am Friday, August 5, 2016

The Community Rally for Unity was held Tuesday.

Downtown didn’t burn to the ground. No store windows were broken. There was no looting.

There were probably some people in our community who were hoping the opposite would happen. That “outsiders” would come in and take over the event, spreading mayhem across the city so they could say, “I told you so.”

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But the entire event was calm, with a hint of religious revival as Mayor George Flaggs Jr. and the Rev. Manney Murphy spoke about peace, togetherness and how the rally showed Vicksburg could band together.

I’m sure many of the 60 people who attended the rally and sought whatever shade they could find along Washington Street, came out of curiosity to see what would happen and how it would all come about.

I was one of those people who stood out in the 90-plus degree heat and high humidity.

My job was to cover what was supposed to be a two-hour event that mercifully ended after an hour. This is not a slight against Brianna Knox, her plans or the speakers.

The human body can only take so much high heat and humidity in the summertime, and by 6 p.m. Tuesday, despite several bottles of water, I had my share of that one southern summer day.

The crowd was respectful of the speakers, and there was a lack of dissention. This was, after all, a unity rally, and black and white residents got along well, greeting each other before the event and talking after its close.

In the days before the rally, I wondered what it would be like. Would it be the event it was, or would it be a rabble-rousing event and destroy the good intentions of its organizer. It’s not unusual for a reporter to think such things, as he or she prepares to cover an event like the rally, and over the years I’ve covered many a rally and meeting that started calm and went crazy as time went on. Sometimes they evolved into what I call a “poison mind meetings” from the start.

This one did neither. It stayed to its theme and went on without a hitch, and the people who attended it behaved and stayed calm and collected despite the heat. That, my friends, it a tribute to Ms. Knox and the city, because it showed we can come together.

Vicksburg is not a perfect community, and granted, we have our problems, but for one day people put them aside.

Brittany Knox said she wants to hold another rally in the future. I hope she does, and I’ll be glad to attend again. This young woman wants to make a change in her community for good, and I hope she is successful.

We need more people like her here and across the country.


John Surratt is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. To reach him, email john.surratt@vicksburgpost.com.


About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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