JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI: IN YOUR FACE ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM AND WHITEWASHING

By Sandra F. Beckard, Speakin’ Out News staff writer

SON Columnist Sandra Beckard
President Joe Biden said his administration has offered Mississippi “every single thing available” to address the water crisis that has gripped the state’s capital and called on the governor to fix the problems. “We’ve offered every single thing available to Mississippi. The governor has to act. There’s money to deal with this problem. We’ve given them EPA. We’ve given them everything there is to offer,” Biden said late Thursday.
JACKSON MAYOR REBUTS MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR’S CLAIM CITY FAILURES LED TO WATER CRISIS – – Jackson, Mississippi Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba on Tuesday responded to Gov. Tate Reeves’ criticism of the city’s water management system, which was damaged by flooding in the Pearl River and led to a crisis upending life for the city of nearly 150,000 people. Reeves had claimed that city officials failed to give the state and federal governments a plan to fix longstanding issues with the water system, and that the staff in the water plant where the failure happened “had been abandoned.”Lumumba is now sharing records that he says contradict Reeves’ statements. Photo: Michael M. Santiago via Getty Images

Now that the cameras are on Jackson, Mississippi, and the World is watching, the Republican Governor, Tate Reeves and his cronies in the Mississippi legislature are trying to “whitewash” what he and his administration did and did not do. They have known and had been warned for years that a critical system failure would occur due to a lack of maintenance at the water treatment plant. Yet nothing was done. Reeves said on Tuesday, August 30… “We were told… that there was no way to predict exactly when, but that it was a near certainty that Jackson would fail to produce running water sometime in the next several weeks or months.” His first lie before the cameras. When asked how often the city had attempted to seek help from the state prior to the failure, Reeves instead talk- ed about grants programs set up for all cites in the state during the 2022 legislative session. “White-wash”

On March 3, 2021 Reeves stood in the State’s Capital City and said…“I do think it’s really important that the City of Jackson start collecting their water bill payments before they start going and asking everyone else to pony up more money.” That was a swipe at the residents of this city. On March 1, 2021 the State’s Lt. Governor remarked… ”You remember during Kane Ditto’s administration, he did repair work on the water and sewer.” Ditto was the last White Mayor of Jackson. This shows that, while Ditto was a Democrat, he still got support from the State. In 1997 when Harvey Johnson, a black urban planner and infra-structure wonk (geek), became Mayor and gave repeated warnings of a future breakdown of the aging systems. He ran into a brick wall from State Officials. When Johnson took office the system was already in trouble. “Environmental Racism”.

It was only few months ago when this Racist Governor blamed Jackson for this problem. He had the audacity to throw shade on the city at a news conference when he asked this question, “Why is Jackson having this problem when the surrounding cities like, Ridgeland, Flowood, Richland, and Clinton are not?” First, the water system in Jackson is 70 years old. Second, the cities named were mostly farm land with cows, a Piggly Wiggly and a Drug Store. Their water systems are not as old. With the “white- flight” from Jackson to these small towns, the State is continuing to pump money into these majority white cities.

When this crisis hit the fan last week, this Racist Governor set up a news conference/meeting to address the situation and admitted that he did not invite Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. Why would you not have the Mayor of this City at any meet ing? This is an example of how white state leadership has responded to black city leaders with contempt and condescension. Mayor Lumumba has always stood up to this Governor and spoke truth to power. Racist White People don’t like that. The Mayor showed up anyway and was asked to say a few words. Fist Bump to you Mayor Chokwe for continuing to fight for the residents of your city.

This Governor has vetoed every request that has been presented that would have helped the City of Jackson. He’s sending back $130 Million Dollars Rental Assistance back to the Federal Government that would have helped Jackson residents and other state residents. He vetoed money that was to go the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) that would have helped state residents. Any funds that was requested to help the City appeal to outsiders, he’s vetoed.

When the people of color in the state voted to remove the Confederate Flag from the State Capital, Reeves and the other White Politicians have decided to remind them that “they’ still have the power.

There is hope that the voters in Mississippi remember this in November.