Keep moving forward

By CATHERINE KIRK CKIRK@DDTONLINE.COM,

 This week, the newsroom of the Delta Democrat-Times was given a new home.  Before you start calling your friends, yes, we are still very much in business and no, we have not moved away from our building on Broadway Street.

The newsroom alone has simply moved to a different part of the building. The day-to-day dynamics have changed over the years at the DDT, just as they do for several businesses that have been around as long as we have, and it has led to some of the ways the layout of the building was originally designed.

When I first heard we were moving our desks to the opposite side of the building, I was not happy about it.

I thought of the many reporters who have come and gone through that room, the several hours spent interviewing people and writing articles. I also began to reminisce the past five years I have spent in that room, the countless phone calls I made and the many articles I wrote in there.

I made some great friends in the newsroom, and some not so great. I’ve shared a lot of laughs and tears with my coworkers in that room, I even went through both of my pregnancies in that newsroom.

Saying goodbye to that space was something I simply did not want to do. The more I thought about it in the days leading up to the move, the idea began to grow on me. We are now closer to each other and my office lends to more privacy, although I always keep my door open. Now that we are moved in, I am really happy with the change. I almost wish we had done this sooner.

In these past few weeks, there has been a lot of discussion throughout the nation about changes for many business brand images, including Uncle Ben’s, Land O’Lakes, Aunt Jemima and others. In Mississippi, we are now seeing an upcoming change to the state flag.

For several years, there have been people advocating to remove the Confederate emblem and those who wish to see it remain the same.

After the state legislature passed a bill Sunday to officially remove the Confederate symbol, I have some friends who are thrilled to see this change taking place and I have friends who are upset and don’t want to see it go away.

Growing up, I never had any feelings about the flag, it was always “just a flag” to me. My family is not from Mississippi, my own father wasn’t even born in the United States, so it never occurred to me how strongly others may feel about it.

For some families, the flag is something they have waved proudly in their homes for several generations. For others, they view the confederate emblem as a sign of racism and segregation.

Mississippi is the last remaining state flag to feature the Confederate emblem, so is it really so bad for us to make this change?

Is the fact that the former Mississippi flag has been around since 1894 a good enough reason to keep it? I don’t think so.

If that same logic applied to everything we do in life, we would never develop new technologies, design new clothes, try new hair styles or update the decorations in our homes.

During my time working at Walt Disney World, there was a quote by Walt Disney managers would often repeat and the company would display on banners whenever construction was taking place: “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."

It’s time for Mississippi to move forward, open a new door and try something new.

Just because the flag’s image will be different does not change its history. Children will still be taught what it used to be in history class and people are still welcome to keep the flag in their home.

Our modern day life is hardly what it was in 1894. There’s no need to keep a flag, especially one that causes so much animosity and has driven so much potential business away, that was designed during that time.

I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Mississippi.

Catherine Kirk is managing editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. She can be reached at ckirk@ddtonline.com.