EL DORADO, Ark. (7/3/20) — Petitions are circulating on social media to change the Arkansas state flag.
Heather Griffin, El Dorado native, is proposing a new design that is more inclusive.
“I put a lot of thought into it so this is the result,” she said.
The biggest debate about the current flag evolves around the fourth star above the word Arkansas which commemorates the state’s membership in the confederacy.
The other three starts represents Spain, France and the United States- three nations the territory belonged to a different times in the state’s history.
“To a lot of people that isn’t something pretty that they want to see or have represent their state,”she said.
Instead of the fourth star’s confederate meaning, Heather’s design includes a mockingbird which is the official state bird of Arkansas in addition to some color changes different from the current flag. The remaining three stars will continue its original meaning.
Her flag design is circulating on Facebook along with another petition to change the flag. It’s not the first time its been under debate.
Former Representative, Charles Blake, presented legislation to change the confederate star’s significance on the flag by instead recognizing the Native American tribes that contributed to the state’s history. After multiple attempts, the bill failed.
Governor Asa Hutchinson expressed his approval of changing the meaning of the star saying “it’s the right thing to do”.
Those who don’t agree with the change say this is an effort to erase history but Griffin says it’s not.
“If it helps some people to say we need to learn from that you can look at this mockingbird as kind of a transformation of that,” she said. “Yes, it was that but we have become more.”
Even if legislatures vote to just change the meaning of the star, Griffin says she isn’t opposed to that. However, she believes changing the flag is important.
“It’s not exactly relevant to today and how inclusive our society is to today,” she said. “It’s an overdue re brand from when we were strongly connected to Confederate ideals.”
Legislators plan to discuss the issue again during the next session.