Showing posts with label Mississippi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mississippi. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

NAACP President Derrick Johnson’s Statement on Jackson, Mississippi Water Crisis

NAACP President Derrick Johnson released the following statement on the Jackson, Mississippi water crisis:

Somehow, in the year 2022, equality and justice remain out of reach for Black communities across America. The disparities facing our community are stark - just look at the catastrophe unfolding in my hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. More than a hundred thousand people, the majority of whom are Black, are without safe access to drinking water for the foreseeable future.

This crisis is the direct result of the failures of politicians who have put party and politics over the issues that will help people in communities like Jackson, Mississippi, Flint, Michigan, and the many other majority Black cities that have been left behind for too long. We need elected officials who will put people over politics and will address issues that impact Black communities.

While the NAACP continues to mobilize volunteers, clean water distribution efforts, and collaboration with local, state, and federal administrations, we remind elected officials that those seeking to win our vote must show they are with us, and they will fight for us.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Mississippi governor signs bill to retire state's Confederate-themed flag

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill Tuesday evening to retire the last state flag in the U.S. that includes the Confederate battle emblem.

His office announced a signing ceremony at the Governor's Mansion, two days after a broad coalition of legislators passed the landmark measure to change the flag.

As soon as the Republican governor signed the bill, the flag lost its official status.

Several Black legislators, and a few white ones, kept pushing for years to change it. After a white gunman who posed with the Confederate flag killed Black worshipers at a South Carolina church in 2015, Mississippi's Republican speaker of the House, Philip Gunn, said his religious faith compelled him to say that Mississippi must purge the symbol from its flag.

But the issue was still broadly considered too volatile for legislators to touch, until the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis set off weeks of sustained protests against racial injustice, followed by call after call to take down Confederate symbols.

A groundswell of business, religion, education and sports leaders called on Mississippi to make this change, finally providing the momentum for legislators to vote.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Jay-Z, Yo Gotti threaten to sue Mississippi over inhumane prisons

Rap mogul Jay-Z and hip-hop artist Yo Gotti wrote a letter to two top Mississippi officials Thursday, protesting the conditions of Mississippi prisons and demanding change.

The letter contained a threat — Jay-Z and Yo Gotti are ready to sue the state if prison conditions aren't improved.

An outbreak of deadly gang violence that left five dead in Mississippi prisons has brought the system's long-running problems into sharp relief and under national scrutiny.

The letter, addressed to Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall, mentions frequent prison lockdowns, violence, a staffing shortage and inmates who "are forced to live in squalor, with rats that crawl over them as they sleep on the floor, having been denied even a mattress for a cot."

A spokesperson for the governor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Alex Spiro, a New York lawyer representing Roc Nation, Yo Gotti and Jay-Z's company, signed the letter on behalf of Team Roc. He said he wrote the letter in collaboration with the celebrities.

Spiro told the Clarion Ledger Yo Gotti and Jay-Z have been involved with other social justice and civil rights cases in the past.

They have been in touch with "folks on the ground and people within the prison system," Spiro said.

"We are exploring a variety of civil rights claims and constitutional claims that the prison system and the government is violating the Eighth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act," he said.

Spiro said Jay-Z and Yo Gotti do not want to "remain idle spectators with something this inhumane."

"As the prison system continues to incarcerate more and more people, predominantly African American people down in Mississippi, the prison system becomes more crowded, more underfunded and more inhumane and you know what you see now is a system at its breaking point," the attorney said.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Black voters file federal lawsuit against Mississippi prosecutor

Four black voters and a branch of the NAACP are suing a Mississippi prosecutor, asking a federal judge to order him to stop excluding African Americans from juries.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in Greenville, alleges District Attorney Doug Evans excludes black citizens from juries at a rate disproportionate to whites.

The suit builds off an analysis of strikes by Evans’ office in a seven-county rural district in north Mississippi. That analysis by American Public Media’s “In the Dark” podcast was part of a series of episodes questioning the guilt of Curtis Flowers.

The U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned Flowers’ conviction in the killing of four people in a Winona furniture store in 1996, finding racial bias in jury selection. Evans has tried Flowers six times.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Democrat Mike Espy files to run for Senate in 2020

Democrat Mike Espy appears to be gunning for a rematch in his bid for Senate in Mississippi.

The former agriculture secretary and congressman filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Friday declaring his intention to run for Senate in 2020.

The filing comes just three days after he was defeated by Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) in a heated runoff election. A spokesperson for Espy's campaign did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.

Hyde-Smith, who was appointed earlier this year to replace former Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) in the chamber, beat Espy on Tuesday by roughly 8 points.

Because Hyde-Smith was appointed this year and elected in a special election, she will face reelection again at the end of Cochran's term in 2020 when she's expected to seek her first full term in the Senate.


Friday, December 08, 2017

Bennie Thompson and John Lewis Will Not Attend Mississippi Museums' Opening

U.S. Representatives Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., and John Lewis, D-Ga., will not attend the grand opening of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in protest of Donald Trump making an appearance at the ceremonies. The two released the following joint press release:

“After careful consideration and conversations with church leaders, elected officials, civil right activists and many citizens of our congressional districts, we have decided not to attend or participate in the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

“President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum. The struggles represented in this museum exemplify the truth of what really happened in Mississippi. President Trump’s disparaging comments about women, the disabled, immigrants and National Football League players disrespect the efforts of Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry, Medgar Evers, Robert Clark, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and countless others who have given their all for Mississippi to be a better place.

“After President Trump departs, we encourage all Mississippians and Americans to visit this historic civil rights museum.”

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Black judge removes Mississippi flag with Confederate emblem from courtroom

Carlos Moore made history this week when he took to the bench as the first African-American municipal judge in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Then he made a ruckus.

On his first day on the job, Moore ordered officials to remove the Mississippi state flag from his courtroom, because that flag contains the Confederate emblem in its upper left corner.

"It was such a great feeling to see the police officer drag the despicable flag from the courtroom during open court. Great first day!" the judge posted on Facebook on Monday.

In Moore's eyes, the Mississippi state flag doesn't stand for justice and instead shows the state supports the Confederacy's legacy of slavery, he told WATN-TV in Memphis.

Another factor in Moore's decision was the fact that a lot of the people who will stand before him in court will be African-Americans.

"Most of the people that appear before me will be African-American, and they need to feel that the courtroom is gonna be a place they can get justice," he said. "That flag does not stand for justice."

It isn't the first time Moore has fought the flag. He filed a federal lawsuit seeking an injunction to stop the state from flying the flag and to rule that its design is unconstitutional. But US District Judge Carlton W. Reeves tossed the suit out last year.


Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Black church set on fire & vandalized with "Vote Trump" graffiti

Hopewell Baptist Church, a black church in Greenville Mississippi was set on fire and vandalized with graffiti that read "Vote Trump". Most of the damage to the 111-year-old church was to the sanctuary and there have been no reports of injury.

During a press conference officials that the incident is now being investigated as a hate crime. Greenville Police Chief Freddie Cannon called the incident "a form of voting intimidation".

The FBI released a statement on the burning:

“The FBI Jackson Division is aware of the situation in Greenville, and we are working with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to determine if any civil rights crimes were committed.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

NAACP seeks federal probe after noose put on black student

The president of the Mississippi NAACP is demanding a federal hate crime investigation after the parents of a black high school student said as many as four white students put a noose around their son's neck at school.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Notable Mississippians join chorus to change state flag

In a letter appearing in a full-page ad in today's Clarion-Ledger, author John Grisham, actor Morgan Freeman, legendary quarterback Archie Manning, "The Help" author Kathryn Stockett and others are calling for removal of the Confederate emblem from Mississippi's state flag.

With other states removing their Confederate battle flags, Mississippi remains the last with the Confederate emblem flying over the statehouse.

"It is simply not fair, or honorable, to ask black Mississippians to attend schools, compete in athletic events, work in the public sector, serve in the National Guard, and go about their normal lives with a state flag that glorifies a war fought to keep their ancestors enslaved," the letter says. "It's time for Mississippi to fly a flag for all its people."

Read more: Celebrities to Miss.: 'A Flag for All of Us'

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mississippi lawmaker says that blacks get welfare crazy checks

Republican Gene Alday, a Mississippi lawmaker made some racist comments to a reporter while discussing education funding in the state.

The former mayor of Walls (population 1,248) said, "I come from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call 'welfare crazy checks.' They don't work."

He had to go to the emergency room for pain, he said. "I liked to died. I laid in there for hours because they (blacks) were in there being treated for gunshots."

Both republicans and democrats condemned his comment.

House Democrats, including members of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus, held a press conference saying they're concerned Alday's words reflect the general sentiment among GOP leadership. They're calling for a serious discussion with top elected officials to address the issues.

"Maybe it's more prevalent than we realize," said state Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Natchez.

"The racially divisive comments by Rep Gene Alday harken us back to Mississippi of the 1960's," said state Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, and chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. "I hope and pray there is a real vast divide between the way that Mississippians view one another today and the comments that appeared in this article. Other than that, to comment further is simply engaging in divisiveness that helps no one."

State Rep. Chuck Espy, D-Clarksdale, issued a statement saying the House Republican leadership "should take responsibility" for what its members say "including messages that are reprehensible and divisive."

"We should lambaste Alday, and also check those whom allow him the opportunity to speak," Espy said. "… The abhorrent rhetoric is intended to galvanize and old base. However, even those in his district are more sophisticated than to be seduced by suck obsolete vitriol."

Republicans took pains to distance themselves from Alday's remarks. Gov. Phil Bryant issued a statement saying the legislator alone is responsible for his words.

"I strongly reject his comments condemning any Mississippian because of their race," the governor said. "Those day are long past."

Speaker of the House Philip Gunn condemned the remarks and said "they do not reflect the views of the Republican party, nor of the leadership of the House of Representatives."

State Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef on Monday said "we are very disappointed." But then he accused his Democratic counterpart of hypocrisy for not being as critical of U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson for comments he made last year on radio.

"(Alday's) statements certainly do not reflect the views of the Mississippi Republican Party, its leadership or membership and are absolutely unacceptable," Nosef said.