A city-wide unity event in Petal known as the “Petal Movement” that was originally scheduled for June 20 has been postponed until further notice in the midst of ongoing controversy surrounding Mayor Hal Marx and other situations.
Ward 3 Alderman Clint Moore, who was one of the organizers of the event – which was designed to form a long-term action plan to feature ways to connect and move the city forward over the next year or so – posted on Facebook that he feels he is now too interconnected to the politics and divisive nature of the situation with the mayor and outside protestors.
“What our community needs is to move on from both of these things and focus on the people who live here in Petal who want to see positive change happen,” Moore said. “When the time comes for the ‘Petal Movement’ to come together, it needs to happen in a time of solidarity – not a time of continued angst fueled by protests and clashes.
“I have great peace knowing that the minds and hearts of so many in our community have been stirred and that so many are looking for a way to love their neighbors of all kind.”
Moore said there are other Petal residents who are ready and willing to lead the city to a brighter future, and he hopes the movement will help heal the city.
“My encouragement to you all is this: Petal will come out of this stronger, more unified and with love in our hearts for our neighbors,” he said. “My challenge for you is this: don’t be swayed to join the us vs. them.
“Don’t join the ‘right vs. wrong.’ When you see your fellow community members step up with a message of love and understanding, join that movement.”
When the event was originally announced, Moore said he and other officials were working with people in the Black and white communities to try to determine a plan for a community-wide education initiative over the next 12 months.
"Basically, all politics aside, for the next 12 months you don't have to take a stand one way or the other,” he said in an previous story. “We just want people to listen, get facts and understand why people feel the way they feel.
“So right now we're developing a curriculum ... then we're going to go to our community partners, the faith-based community and the civic organizations, and explain the plan to them. We're going to ask them to come on board with us and commit to this year-long quest for understanding.”
Moore said the idea of the initiative is to shift away from the negative publicity that has surrounded Marx, who recently has come under fire for his social media comments regarding the fatal encounter between George Floyd and Minneapolis police.
After Marx made the comments, the Petal Board of Aldermen – along with several community members – asked the mayor to resign during a special-called meeting, but he has so far refused to go along with that request.
Shortly after the board asked Marx to resign, a three-day protest was held by citizens calling for his resignation outside Petal City Hall.
In addition, aldermen held a special-called meeting last week and passed an ordinance prohibiting targeted picketing. That ordinance, which applies to the entire city, also would put an end to the protesting and harassment that Marx says has been happening in front of his home.