Chokwe Lumumba, a radical Mississippi human right attorney, was elected mayor of Jackson. Lumumba died nine months later after being elected. Ebony asked: “Who would make sure that the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the New Afrikan People’s Organization, and the Jackson People’s Assembly goals–to promote self determination, cooperative economics and participatory democracy and social equity–were realized?”
Only one person with such a radical lineage could fill Lumumba’s shoes: Chokwe Antar Lumumba.
Jackson is the United States’ largest city with a black majority. Its problems date back to Lumumba, and they will continue long after he is gone. Lumumba was elected to office in 2017 with a radical platform that was not something he was able to fully realize.
He presented a vision for Jackson that could be a national model. He promised to use City Hall to provide not only better services but also a variety of progressive ideas such as universal basic income, cooperative businesses, and alternatives to policing. He spoke of urban farms replacing abandoned lots. He spoke about urban farming in a city of 82 percent Black, which is higher than any other large city in the country. His promises were made in historical terms and he promised to change the narrative of commerce and race in the region, from one of exploitation to one that empowers.
Yet, in his efforts to lift people up, he neglected the rest — the mundane, daily ordinary business of government. It will take billions to fix the water crisis in the city.
Jackson residents are experiencing water shortages due to system problems and staffing shortages.
Lumumba said that the city’s water crisis was due to poor maintenance over the past few decades and that it will take billions to solve the problem.
Lumumba stated that “This is an accumulation of problems based upon deferred maintenance which has not taken place over many decades.”
Your honor, that’s true. What the hell have your been doing the past four years? You’ve been busy making your city a socialist utopia while the problems with the water system — for goodness sake — got worse and worse until it collapsed.
Lumumba says that the problem is not his. Obviously, it’s racism.
Lumumba said Tuesday on ABC News Live Prime that Jackson needs a system that is sustainable, but also one that is equitable.
Lumumba stated that Jackson’s Public Works Director Marlin Kings was resigned one day after the current water crisis was reported.
It is not possible to reorganize the Titanic’s deck chairs. Lumumba must do what he failed in the day he was elected: fix the infrastructure problems that make Jackson’s life so dangerous, difficult, and unhealthy.