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MISSISSIPPI RISING COALITION 

holds the view that the quality of life and well-being of Mississippi residents and the progress of our state are directly related to social, political and environmental factors, and these factors can be directly and positively impacted by our efforts.

 

As a guide to direct MRC’s organizational focus and actions, we have chosen to use the indicators of social progress as outlined and measured by the Social Progress Imperative in its Social Progress Index:  Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Well-being and Opportunity.

Basic Human Needs

  • Nutrition and basic medical care

  • Personal safety

  • Shelter

  • Water and sanitation

Foundations of Well-being

  • Access to basic knowledge

  • Access to communications and information

  • Health and wellness

  • Ecosystem sustainability

Opportunity

  • Personal rights

  • Personal freedom and choice

  • Tolerance and inclusion

  • Access to education

Dialogue on Race in Mississippi (DORMS)

Learn how to be a part of making your community stronger and more inclusive! MRC is offering Dialogue on Race in Mississippi (DORMS), an educational process modeled after  Dialogue on Race Original Series, the core program of an organization called Dialogue on Race Louisiana

 

Its focus is on education, action and transformation.  The program is a six-session weekly series backed by factual materials that is facilitated by a biracial pair of trained race dialogue facilitators and structured to set a safe environment for open, honest and brave conversation about racism.

 

The series is specifically designed to create increased awareness and understanding that leads to informed action and meaningful change around race and institutional racism in our communities.  It’s a journey that needs to include all of Mississippi.

In 2022, we're offering DORMS in the South MS counties of Jackson, Harrison, Hancock and Forrest Counties. If you or your organization would like more information about DORMS, contact us at contactmsrising@gmail.com. To join a DORMS series in your county, register here.

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MS Gulf Coast Mutual Aid Network

When the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak began, we knew a rapid response disaster relief initiative would be critical to helping impacted individuals survive and meet basic needs now, and in the wake of future crises, while not falling prey to disaster capitalism. MS Gulf Coast Mutual Aid Network is a grassroots disaster relief network based on the principles of solidarity, mutual aid, and autonomous direct action. Mutual aid is voluntary, reciprocal, participatory assistance among equals and being with, not for, disaster survivors. By working with, listening to, and supporting impacted individuals and communities, especially our most vulnerable members, we support what they need to lead their own recovery and build long-term, sustainable and resilient communities.

 

Disaster survivors themselves are the first responders to crisis; the role of outside aid is to support survivors to support each other. As Mississippi became an epicenter for rising COVID-19 cases in 2020, we mobilized community members here on the Gulf Coast to provide masks, hygiene kits and COVID-19 education to our unhoused neighbors; cleaning supplies, masks, groceries, medical supplies and other necessities to Gulf Coast residents in isolation; sewing machines to an immigrant community in Central MS so they could make masks for their community; produce boxes to food-insecure Black, immigrant and low-income communities in Biloxi, Bay St. Louis and Ocean Springs;  and we established the crowd-funded MS Gulf Coast Mutual Aid Fund to raise funds to provide rent, utility, medical and food aid to individuals and households unable to afford basic necessities due to loss of employment or reduced hours as a result of the virus.

This mutual aid and rapid response infrastructure we created will remain intact, and expand, to enable us to respond to and care for one another when other natural and man-made disasters occur and existing systems fail us.

 

If you would like to support our mutual aid network directly, you can make a donation here. All funds go toward direct financial and material aid and are tax-deductible. If you would like to organize a mutual aid network in your community, feel free to use our MRC Mutual Aid Organizing Guide

Hub City Mutual Aid Project

Despite Mississippi being home to some of the most vast and fertile farmland in the world, it is also home to the highest rate of food insecurity among its residents. Most of the rich farmland in the Delta is owned and farmed by corporate agricultural conglomerates which ship their crops- mainly corn, soybeans and cotton- out of state, instead of utilizing the land to grow healthy foods for Mississippians. These corporate-owned farms have also become  largely mechanized in their planting, production and harvesting of crops, consequently leaving many Mississippians living in the surrounding communities who have made their livings for generations as farm workers, without jobs that pay a living wage. Federal and state policy violence and the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow-era racial segregation has resulted in public disinvestment from and deliberate neglect of predominantly Black communities in Mississippi creating poverty or near-poverty conditions and food deserts, where often the only source of food for households is a corner gas station or dollar store. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, food insecurity among Black, Indigenous, brown and low-income communities in Mississippi was exacerbated. Here in South MS, Hattiesburg Ward 2 lost its only grocery store due to financial hardship, and area small Black farmers were systematically exculded from the USDA's Farmers to Families Food Box Program, which was intended to deliver fresh produce and other food stuffs to food-insecure families during the pandemic. In response, MRC established the Hub City Mutual Aid Project, partnering with Oseola McCarty Youth Development Center in Ward 2 to plan and establish an organic community garden. We have also partnered with Big Creole Farm of Hattiesburg to grow and harvest produce. The fruits and vegetables from both the Oseola McCarty Community Garden and Big Creole Farm will go to food-insecure households in Ward 2. We are also engaging in deep, long-term community organizing in Ward 2 to build people power and engagement with state and local government to address policy issues contributing to food insecurity, create conditions that allow for a sustainable food system in Ward 2 that enables all residents to have regular access to healthy foods and identify and facilitate Ward 2 self-determination and advocacy around other public health, quality of life and safety concerns of Ward 2 residents. 

Volunteers for both Oseola McCarty Community Garden and Big Creole Farm are welcome! No experience is necessary. For more information, or to join our volunteer roster, submit the contact form here.

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Rainbow Garden Coalition

Rainbow Garden Coalition is a community of home-based growers and gardeners in South Mississippi committed to sharing gardening tools, skills and resources with one another and giving a portion of our harvests to food-insecure households in our respective communities through our mutual aid networks. We're also committed to learning and educating others about localized sustainable food systems, their role in reducing hunger and food deserts in Mississippi and how systemic racism and corporatized food systems have created food apartheid in Mississippi.

Request to join Rainbow Garden Coalition here

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five feet four media

five feet four is a media project of Mississippi Rising Coalition. It is a collection of essays, political and social blogs, poetry, and other forms of expression from folks who are a part of a movement to radically change Mississippi. It covers all aspects of life and progress as experienced by those in the heart of the fight. The name, five feet four, comes from a quote of one of Mississippi's fiercest advocates for radical change - Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer... "Sometimes it seem like to tell the truth today is to run the risk of being killed. But if I fall, I'll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom. I'm not backing off."

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Current alliances & Partnerships

Mississippi Alliance for Public Safety

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In 2021, Mississippi Rising Coalition became a founding member of the Mississippi Alliance for Public Safety (MAPS). MAPS mission is to reclaim public safety from the racist, classist, violent, coercive institution of policing and create a true and effective public safety system grounded in respect, care, equality, transparency and accountability while ensuring the harm done to communities impacted by police violence and misconduct is repaired. While the primary focus of MAPS is on policing and public safety, we acknowledge policing as inextricably linked to the larger criminal punishment system. 

 

In order to achieve our goal, MAPS advocates for: 

 

  • Divestment of public funds from policing at both the state and municipal levels coupled with investment of public funds into community health, public safety & well being needs.

  • Abolition of state and municipal policies and practices allowing perpetuation of racist, violent and coercive policing coupled with establishment of programs, policies and practices aligned with true transparency, accountability and principles of restorative justice.

Other member organizations of MAPS include: South Mississippi Showing Up for Racial Justice (South MS SURJ); Mississippi Chapter of American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS Mississippi); Black Lives Matter Mississippi; Jackson, MS Chapter of Democratic Socialists of America; Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the Mississippi Chapter of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL). 

To become an organizational MAPS member, sign on to MAPS Mission, Principles and Goals here, and a MAPS representative will contact you. 

 

Gulf South for a Green New Deal

Gulf South for a Green New Deal (#GulfSouth4GND) is a regional formation of more than 200 organizations advancing long-existing work towards climate, racial, and economic justice in five states across the Gulf South: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida.

Rooted in bottom-up organizing and driven by frontline leadership, we move together on policy, regional action campaigns, and strategic communications. As the nation’s first formation advancing a regional vision for a just climate transition, we are committed to the realization of a uniquely Gulf South version of a Green New Deal that is anchored in the histories, realities, and power of the region.

Read the Gulf South for a Green New Deal policy platform here.

MRC is a Facilitative Anchor and Direct Action Table Lead for the Mississippi Hub of Gulf South for a Green New Deal (MS4GND). MS4GND currently has over 20 organizations, community groups and small businesses from across the state who are signatories to the Gulf South for a Green New Deal platform. MS4GND has the following priorities for 2022: advance access to clean water; advance food sovereignty and strengthen local food systems; advance equitable disaster recovery; advance green, affordable and healthy housing; and stop petrochemical expansion and protect Mississippi from false climate solutions. To join MS4GND, sign onto the GS4GND platform here.

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