By Rex Ravita
Growing up in Mississippi, I have had an inside view of the culture, life, and people who reside here. I was raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which many consider different than the rest of the state.
There is no denying Mississippi is riddled with bad statistics regarding our education, weight, and even teen pregnancy rates. However, it is my home, and there are many aspects of it that have grown on me.
I love the beach, the Southern hospitality, and the small town feel that comes with nearly any city you visit. While I do love certain aspects of living here, I am dying to get out. This is a common occurrence, being raised in Mississippi. If you don’t fit in or agree with everyone around you, they tell you to leave, so naturally that’s what you want to do.
Many other states in our country have an almost opposite culture, and I feel like I’d be better off in one of these states.
Mississippi has a poor history of race relations and still struggles in this area. This is one of the many problems that needs to be addressed if we want to move Mississippi forward.
Our legislature is very neglectful of its constituents. We are last ranked in education in the nation, but our legislature consistently defunds education and disregards these poor rankings.
The main negative perception of the state that should be changed is our education, obesity rates, and race relations.
In order to address these issues, I would create a campaign called Moving Mississippi Forward. The name is derived from the state’s need for progression.
Being so behind in so many categories warrants the need for progression. Moving Mississippi Forward will educate citizens and the state about what we can do to move forward. It will also educate others outside of the state about the beautiful, unique things Mississippi and its citizens have to offer.
Other states, like California and New York, have strong marketing strategies. Aside from them being such successful states in general, they have a strong tourist presence that Mississippi lacks, maybe because of our lack of good marketing.
We need better commercials, graphics, and websites in order to attract visitors. These need to exhibit the beautiful scenery of Mississippi that many people do not know about.
The highlighted cities in my campaign will be Biloxi, Ocean Springs, and other coastal cities. These are the highlight of Mississippi life, featuring fishing, boating, beaches and sunshine. My campaign will invite tourists and exhibit the hidden beauty of Mississippi.
The campaign should educate our citizens. Race relations in this state have always been a problem, but educating the population and creating programs for integration and diversity will help fix them.
The feedback I got from friends and family who are all mainly Mississippi residents and natives was positive. They agree there is no denying our low rankings in many categories and the need to fix them.
They also really liked the idea of featuring the beach and coastal cities as the main point of the campaign. These cities lack exposure and should be shown to tourists.
They also agreed that programs and education to address racial issues in the state and our low rankings are needed. One thing they said they would add is Mississippi’s Southern hospitality and the family aspect.