By Hannah Gambrell
“Mississippi is a Southern U.S. state with the Mississippi River to its west, the state of Alabama to its east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the South,” says Wikipedia.
For many of my classmates, Mississippi sounds a lot like home – family, football, friends, the Square, Big Bad Breakfast, the Vaught, the Grove, and so many other things. If I could choose a small phrase to describe what Mississippi is to me I would say: “A second home.”
Oxford is not just a place I reside in a majority of the year frantically trying to pass my classes, nor is it just a place I come to watch football on a Saturday morning in the fall.
Mississippi is a second home for me. It is a place where I have slowly begun making new friends. It’s where I paid my first bills. It’s where my husband and I share our first apartment together. This is a place where I have learned more about myself and grown as an individual.
Chattanooga will always be my home, but after these past two years, I have come to see Oxford as a place that holds a great deal of value in my life and will always be important to me.
Although I have been able to find beauty in this state, I still believe there are downfalls to Mississippi, and there are people who don’t get to see the good. Mississippi has negatives that can muddy the waters and cover the positives.
In the media, many see Mississippi as uneducated, poverty-stricken, and a place of racism. In a world where the media is so strong and important to our everyday lives, these ideas that have been assigned to Mississippi can often take over.
After seeing that Mississippi is often at the bottom, I have been challenged to start a campaign that will bring a new light to Mississippi and show others its beauty.
This campaign would focus on the beautiful people who live in the state and work hard to make it a better place. Through this marketing campaign, I would use social media to reach others and demonstrate Mississippi is a changed state and is not how outsiders may perceive it.
The campaign would be called The Mississippi Meaning, and it would involve video interviews and social media outreach to gather what Mississippi means to the people who reside here.
The focus would be on Mississippi residents so outsiders could get an idea of how important their home state is. This would show others who are not from Mississippi, or who have never visited, how valued it is in the eyes of the residents, and the wonderful people who make this state great.
This would be a campaign to show that not all of the poor things we hear about Mississippi are its only defining factors. I’d create a blog a lot like the one we are using in class to show people different things about Mississippi.
This blog would be accessible on social media sites, such as Facebook, and would include video interviews with local Mississippians and short stories about different towns.
This blog would be a beacon that shines new light on what Mississippi really is and would include the words of the people and a wide range of photos. Overtime, our goal would be for a couple of passionate Mississippians to take over the blog showcase their state pride.
There are towns in the Delta that have different issues than towns like Oxford, so I would want to develop a good understanding that there is good in every place in Mississippi.
I would make sure to get a wide variety of ideas and cover all Mississippi regions on the blog. People will be able to identify with the other Mississippians and stand together to say that Mississippi is a great state.
They will show the world through this campaign Mississippi doesn’t have to be last in everything, and they are more than just a number to the nation. This campaign is a way to strengthen those who may believe their state is not as important as others.
The Mississippi Meaning campaign has taught me to have state pride and shown me Mississippi is loved by so many. This is a place where families are growing and people are coming to learn and live.
This state means much to many. Nothing can overshadow the kind hearts you will find here, and the great Southern hospitality that never dies. Mississippi has more meaning than many of us will ever know.