‘Billions for Ukraine – We say billions for Jackson’

The December 12 Movement held a press conference in solidarity with the people of Jackson under the statue of Adam Clayton Powell outside the Harlem state office building named in his honor. Speakers included Roger Wareham and founding chair Viola Plummer of the December 12 Movement, State Senator Cordell Clear, Bill Dores of Struggle-La Lucha, and Jason Corley of the Cuba Si Coalition. SLL photo: Bill Dores

December 12th Movement
Press statement
September 2, 2022

In 2022, in the richest country the world has ever seen, Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, has no water for drinking, cooking, bathing, flushing a toilet, or fighting a fire. As of this moment, the situation is predicted to continue “indefinitely.” We are calling on President Joe Biden to expeditiously authorize billions of dollars in emergency funds to address both the current humanitarian crisis triggered by the climate crisis-induced flooding and the implementation of long-term action steps to correct decades-long operational neglect of Jackson’s water systems.

The situation in Jackson is not new nor unexpected. As Jackson Mayor Antar Lumumba said. “We’ve been crying out for more than two years, saying that it’s not a matter of if our [water] systems will fail but a matter of when our systems will fail.”

Almost 17 years to the day of the Katrina man-made disaster, the citizens of predominantly Black Jackson are facing the same problem which the citizens of then-predominantly Black New Orleans had. As Jelani Cobb noted in 2005, “Katrina can be viewed as the first of a series of crises that seem to have become a referendum on Black citizenship.”

Jackson is the latest crisis in that series which now includes Flint, MI, Detroit, MI, and Newark, NJ. Clearly, the referendum has voted thumbs down on Black citizenship.

The citizens of Jackson are the victims of structural and environmental racism. And we are concerned that this latest disaster of capitalism does not become a cover to force people out of Jackson as part of the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Black people around the U.S.

What Black people have learned through these crises is that we must organize to take care of ourselves. We cannot depend upon anyone else to do it out of benevolence or simply because it is the humane thing to do. We will join with other groups around the country to get aid to Jackson. But the investment needed to address the roots of the problem has to come from the federal government. We’ve got to bring that pressure to bear on Joe Biden.

Two years ago, President Biden said that Black people made his election possible, that we had his back and he’ll have ours. Well, the time to have our backs is now. Send the aid to Jackson as quickly and extensively as you have been sending it to the Ukraine.


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