In response to Mississippi’s new religious freedom law, the protecting freedom of conscience from government discrimination act, mayor Percy Bland shares his views about how the law will impact business in meridian.
“Of course you see this bill gives business owners the choice of who they would like to serve. Of course we as the city mayor and our police and the support and resources that we have, we have got to follow state law. Again, I don’t personally agree with this legislation, but it is what is. And I’m just hoping that as a mayor it does not affect this community in any kind of way.”
Mayor bland says that even though the law has passed, he has hope that meridian will continue to move in the right direction.
“I feel as the lead person in this community, as the mayor, that we’re open for business.” “I’m sure that at the end of the day, most business owners are going to want to serve everyone. And we don’t want any of our past, especially in the state of Mississippi to undermine the good things that are going on in this state and especially this community.”
But he explains that the law could potentially hurt business expansion in the state.
“Sometimes people may not want to do business in states when legislation such as this is passed, because it’s very controversial.”
Going forward, bland says that he will advocate for businesses to serve everyone and offers his support to the LGBT community.
“I would tell them to continue to frequent all of the businesses as they have in the past. And let’s just see what happens.”
As the meridian’s first african american mayor, Bland shares why he believes tolerance and diversity is necessary.
“The world is getting more diverse and people’s views are a lot more progressive than they’ve ever been. And we in Mississippi have got to adopt those world views if we’re going to be a more progressive state and community.”