Mending the Heart: Destiny Walsh

By Destiny Walsh

My whole life, I have lived in Lewisville, Texas, a suburb 20 minutes north of Dallas. I have always had endless entertainment options, top quality restaurants and shopping, and amazing medical care. Everything was in my reach.

I will never forget the day I was accepted at Ole Miss. My brother asked me, “Why in the world would you want to live in Mississippi?” I began to second guess my decision and wonder the same thing all because of common misconceptions I have heard from others and through the media.

However, my perspective changed completely as soon as I drove from Dallas to Oxford to visit Ole Miss. There is something so beautiful and charming about the state.

Mississippi is often viewed as a state full of nothing but farms and land. I understand this perception, and it’s fair to express this view. However, it is most of the time exaggerated.

Even though Mississippi has an abundance of land, there are still cities and suburbs in the state. It is sometimes difficult not having a mall five minutes away and hundreds of food options, but I would not change it for the world. I personally love the fact that there are not huge cities and buildings everywhere you go. It’s refreshing to drive and see beautiful trees and hills for miles.

Many also view Mississippians as racist and/or uneducated. This is very ignorant. For as long as I have attended school here, I have never witnessed any racism. Yes, there may be a couple of Confederate flags presented in homes or on the back of cars, but this is prevalent in a number of other states, especially in the South.

Mississippi is seen as this “racist” state because of its history. Several events during the Civil War era took place in the state, and that’s all that people have been taught, therefore they stereotype present day Mississippians as those of the past. People believe that nothing has changed, and this is unfair to the state.

My Campaign

Mississippi’s beauty is most of the time overlooked. I want to remind people just how special and great the state is. I would create a campaign called Mending the Heart.

Mississippi is known as the heart of the South because of its Southern charm, beauty, and its ideal land for agriculture. It is the epitome of the classic Southern feel. Many influential people are from Mississippi, including Elvis Presley, Oprah Winfrey and William Faulkner.

The campaign will run through Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. It will educate people about aspects of the state that they may not know about. We will feature “20 things you didn’t know about Mississippi” in the discovery section of Snapchat.

People gravitate toward fast facts, so I believe they will swipe up immediately and want to read them. For example, one fast fact will be about Friendship Cemetery in Columbus, Mississippi. The cemetery is unique because it is home to both Union and Confederate soldiers.

With the state being so known for racism, this is a shocking fact. The fact that both sides were buried together during a time when slavery was enraging the South demonstrates the true ideals of Southern hospitality and friendship.

For Twitter, people will use #mendingtheheart. In the Tweet, they can include a picture or video of scenery in Mississippi and/or what they love most about the state. There will also be an account on Twitter and Instagram called @mendingtheheart in which the followers can Tweet using the hashtag.

One Mississippi fast fact will be posted by the accounts daily. In addition, a Facebook page will be created so that this campaign can reach out to an older crowd, since Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are mainly used by millennials.

I believe this campaign will be successful and effective because it’s hitting multiple different social media outlets. The world today is heavily influenced by social media, which makes it a great tool to spread certain ideas.

This campaign will focus on informing its audience about Mississippi with simple and enticing appeals. The logo will be a Magnolia tree inside the shape of a heart.

The magnolia tree was on Mississippi’s state flag before they changed it, and it is also the state tree. The magnolia flower is a symbol of divine beauty and love for nature.

I would like people to always be reminded of Mississippi’s beauty and nature when they look at the logo. Also, the heart represents the fact that Mississippi is the heart of the South. A simple yet meaningful logo will attract people.

Mississippi needs to be seen in a more positive light, and social media will help influence users from everywhere in the nation. The state is so much more than its past, and Mississippians should take pride in where they live. They should not be ashamed because of common misconceptions.

I’ve learned that people will always have negative and positive things to say about other places, especially if they are not from there. However, I believe they should be fully educated about the area before making any negative remarks.

The magnolia state is a unique and beautiful place with a lot to offer. I love the people, the hospitality, and the culture. Mississippi is home.

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