Mississippi has definitely received a negative reputation for its treatment of minorities. Around half a century ago, Mississippi encouraged the enforcement of Jim Crow Laws. In just November of 2016, Mississippi turned red and primarily voted for then-candidate Donald Trump. In short, Mississippi has done a lot of bad things.
However, compared to the rest of the 49 states, Mississippi is experiencing a case of slow, but steady upward mobility. One year ago, Jackson, the capital city of the infamous Mississippi, declared that the month of April would be celebrated annually as Islamic Heritage Month. To expand, the International Museum of Muslim Cultures, located in Mississippi, is the first museum of its kind in the entire country. Remember that Mississippi is a primarily Republican state, and left-leaning states such as California and New York have not taken this initiative to promote Islamic cultures all around yet.
Lamees El-Sadek of the Jackson Free Press describes:
March 22, 2016, was a historic day for Jackson and Mississippi. It was a needed reminder that there are determined and courageous Mississippians standing against injustice and accomplishing progress, a reminder to Americans, nationwide, of the power and potential of a small group of committed people in making progress despite the weight of their oppression. On that day the City of Jackson proclaimed April as Islamic Heritage Month.
Lamees continues on the subject, noting that Muslims have spent their lives dedicating themselves to this country, just to receive all the backlash and Islamophobia in the past decades. She states:
Muslim families were torn apart as its people toiled the land and cultivated its future. Muslim blood is as much a part of this nation’s soil as Confederate blood. You cannot discuss the Civil War without recognizing the war’s relationship to Muslims, too.
Around 3,000 Muslims live in the Jackson metro area, possessing educating jobs to be leaders in the hospitals.
This large step for Mississippi, entailing the inclusion of Islam as an integral part of its culture, is groundbreaking. It is now time for other states and America as a whole to follow in Jackson’s shadow and fully embrace April as the month to celebrate all the American Muslims who are as important to this country just as much as the white people.