Tupelo City Hall was closed on Wednesday, a move we feel sends the wrong message to the citizenry.

According to an explanation by Mayor Jason Shelton, the reason for shutting City Hall’s doors on the day of President Joe Biden’s inauguration was vague at best. Following the Jan. 6 riots in Washington D.C., in which a mob broke into the U.S. Capitol, statehouses across the nation increased security over concerns of potential violence. According to Shelton, Tupelo City Hall was being closed out of “an abundance of caution.”

But Tupelo’s mayor also claimed there had been no credible threats made against City Hall or any city official, and there were no protests or demonstrations scheduled for that day. The decision to close the building seems to be a solution to a problem that didn’t exist.

Tupelo is and should be a shining example of unity, understanding, and citizenship. This is a time our leadership should promote the idea of unity, inclusiveness and promote the “Tupelo Spirit,” not cast shadows of distrust and division.

Tupelo is a community that frequently supports large, diverse events like June’s unity march and listening session at Fairpark and this past weekend’s celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which concluded on Monday with a motorcade and balloon release. The city hosts safe and open events for in celebration of Elvis and Independence Day and New Year’s Eve, and a Tupelo Pride festival in October. All of these events, which draw hundreds of people together, are held without incident.

We believe Tupelo is a diverse and welcoming community that deserves the trust of its leaders.

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