"Reverend David K. Brawley of East Brooklyn Congregations (a sister organization of WTJ) provided a keynote address that was informative as well as deeply inspiring. He shared about The Nehemiah homes built in East New York and in the Brownsville neighborhood and how “changing one block can make a difference, but one organization makes all the difference in the world.”
"Forty years ago, leaders got together and they built power – the regeneration of an entire community – where initially homes sold for about $40,000 are now worth $500,000. The power is with the people. We organized and one institution saved an entire community, and if we could do it forty years ago, you can do it today.”
The Mississippi Link asked Chevon Chatman for her impressions. “I’m pleased with the turnout and the energy and enthusiasm of WTJ members and guests here today. It speaks to the determination and resiliency of this vehicle and of this city to do what it needs to do to become a stronger Jackson. I am proud to be the lead organizer of Working Together Jackson,” she said.
Savannah Willis, an organizer at WTJ, said it like this, “I feel like there is a lot of energy in the city right now, and today was a reflection of that and seeing how it touches everybody despite our differences, despite our divisions – there is energy in this city to make a change.”
[Photo Credit: Chris Young, The Mississippi Link]
Working Together Jackson – WTJ: Refounding Convention and City-wide Assembly, The Mississippi Link [pdf]
[Working Together Jackson] interfaith leaders stood on the steps of the Catholic cathedral in downtown Jackson Thursday morning, calling for the immediate removal of the Mississippi state flag.
In a resounding a voice, they said any discussion of what design should replace the current flag must not impede the current goal: Taking down a flag associated with white supremacy.
"Anything is better than what we've got now," said Bishop Ronnie Crudup of New Horizon Church International.
People have been protesting for racial justice in Mississippi and across the nation this month at levels not seen since the civil rights movement more than 50 years ago.
There is renewed hope that the Legislature might act to change the state flag, which contains what is commonly known as the confederate battle flag.
"It is time," said Bishop Brian Seage of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi. "It is time for a new flag that truly represents all of us... We call for our legislative leaders to act now."
Bishop Joseph Campbell of the Church of Christ likened the flag to "a large splinter in my hand."
Mississippi Flag: Clergy Leader Group Calls for Immediate Removal, Clarion-Ledger [pdf]
Leaders representing over 100 institutions from across Mississippi gathered with leaders of Working Together Jackson to launch a strategy to bring healthcare reform to Mississippi. In coordination with the Mississippi Hospital Association, Mississippi IAF is mobilzling to encourage lawmakers to pass the Mississippi Cares Plan, which would expand healthcare access to the working poor of Mississippi at no cost to the state. Because of the suspension of the state legislature due to COVID 19, leaders need to get the proposal on the legislative calendar before the end of July.
While Mississippi is one of 13 states to not have enacted Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, it is the one with the least healthy population and routinely shows up at the bottom of national lists tracking obesity, diabetes, and lack of access to health care.
After months of research and negotiation to address a municipal crisis in water billing and repayment, the City of Jackson announced a plan, developed in collaboration with Working Together Jackson, to both help the residents repay past-due bills and the Public Works Department collect essential payments.
“As a result of our collaborative efforts with the Public Works Department, there are now multiple payment options available where before there was only one,” Working Together Jackson said. “But more importantly, there are objective criteria so if you act in good faith you will not leave without being presented options to pay your bill in a way that works for both you and the City.”
The plans were informed by conversations organized by leaders through house meetings and water bill advocacy sessions in which residents brought their bills and learned how to manage repayment.
[Photo Credit: Seyma Bayram, Jackson Free Press]
Jackson Unveils Water-Bill Payment Plan Required for Delinquent Residents, Jackson Free Press
Press Statement Regarding Water Billing, Working Together Jackson
Likening the use of about 600 federal agents in an immigration raid carried out Wednesday in seven Mississippi chicken processing plants to an “invasion,” Bishop Joseph Kopacz, who heads the Diocese of Jackson, said some of the families affected by the action appear “traumatized.” And though about 300 of the roughly 680 people who were arrested were released on Thursday, Aug. 8, the bishop said the effects of the raids will only intensify in the coming weeks.
“This is a man-made disaster—literally,” Bishop Kopacz said. “These folks are our neighbors. They’re not criminals, the vast majority of them. They’re hard-working people.” He said he was bewildered that authorities would choose to carry out the operation as these Mississippi communities began the first day of school.
Chevon Chatman, who heads up Working Together Jackson, a network of community groups including Mississippi parishes, said...“The kids who were left behind on their first day of school came back to no one,” she said. “There have been some reunifications, but it’s still a work in progress. There are a significant number of children who have not been united with their parents.”
Ms. Chatman said that many companies in Mississippi count on immigrant labor....
[Photo Credit: Rogelio V. Solis, AP Photo]
After ICE Raids in Mississippi, Catholic Charities Prepares for Long-Term Impact, America Magazine [pdf]
Faith leaders gathered Monday at the Beth Israel Congregation in Jackson to call for the end to hate in the wake of Saturday’s massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Jewish, Islamic and Christian leaders prayed for tolerance in the same synagogue that members of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi bombed in 1967....
“Although this horrific attack did not take place in Mississippi, we understand that Mississippi is not far from the history where terror was used to incite fear and where people were murdered because of their differences,” Working Together Jackson said in a statement....
At the Beth Israel gathering, Bishop Ronnie Crudup of New Horizon Church of Jackson said he was here to “let this city know that we stand with our brothers and sisters.”
If anyone comes after the Jewish community, “you won’t just come after this congregation, you will come after all of us,” he said. He declared, “We Stand Together.”
The crowd joined him in the chant, and he told them, “we’re going to overcome every horrible, demonic circumstance that comes forward.”
Over 350 leaders from 35 institutions of Working Together Jackson assembled with Mayor Lumumba, securing commitments to form a West Jackson Working group with WTJ to develop a plan for the rebuilding West Jackson.
The Mayor committed to having the Zoo Area Progressive Partnership (a WTJ member) vet all new members of the Zoo Board as well as to convening the newly formed Medical Corridor Commission, raising $1.5 million to fund Fresh Food Finance, and participating in the WTJ research work around public transportation by riding a long with WTJ members.Read more
When the Jackson Zoological Board announced its intent to relocate from west Jackson to northeast Jackson, Working Together Jackson quickly mobilized for a press conference with Mayor Chokwe Lumumba.
Said WTJ leader Heather Ivery, the "intent to leave west Jackson is disheartening -- not only because of the possibility of losing a historic, 100-year old ecosystem, but because of the lack of transparency and involvement of the community in the decision-making process." Mayor Lumumba echoed WTJ's words, calling the proposed $50 million investment required for relocation "disrespectful to the history of the zoo and the folks in the community in which the zoo currently resides."Read more
Working Together Jackson (WTJ) collaborated with member institution Mississippi Association of Educators and Mayor A. Chowkwe Lumumba to prevent a hostile takeover of the Jackson Public School System by the state of Mississippi. WTJ worked with leaders, the Mayor and others to reach a compromise with Gov. Phil Bryant to develop the Better Together Commission and a totally new School Board to avoid the takeover. Four WTJ leaders are now on the Commission and new school board, planning for long-term reform.
Rev. Ronnie Drudup Jr. announced that the organization wants to not only "support this store, but all" stores across Jackson. "We've got to make sure we bring high quality fruits, vegetables, and produce all around the city of Jackson."Read more