On Friday, approximately 200 people walked from Hattiesburg’s Chain Park to the park behind Petal City Hall to celebrate Juneteenth. The walk was organized by the Mississippi Rising Coalition to mark the holiday, which celebrates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.
“Petal has a reputation that black people don’t live there because the city isn't welcoming,” said Reginald Virgil, who helped organize the march. “We’re trying to help tear down that barrier, to bring like-minded people together. There are many different ways of combating racism, and this walk is just one of the ways. We’re letting people know we’re here ... that racism cannot be accepted."
The Hattiesburg and Petal police departments joined together to provide traffic control and security for the walkers.