NAACP Applauds Passage of Funding to Address Jackson Water Crisis
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson applauded the passage of a funding package, which included $600 million for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address the water crisis in Jackson, MS. For months now, residents, schools, medical facilities, businesses, and community groups have lacked access to clean, safe water due in large part to decades of systemic, racist neglect and underinvestment by the state. The NAACP has been leading the fight along with local partners for Congress to swiftly approve funding for Jackson and for the Biden administration to investigate and halt the racist actions by the State of Mississippi. A recent letter sent by President Johnson called on Congressional leaders to include $600 million in the funding package. Read the NAACP's full letter HERE. The bill now heads to President Biden's desk to be signed into law.
"As families begin to gather for the holiday season, today's action providing emergency funding to address the fundamental need of safe drinking water for every household in Jackson should be celebrated as a promise of equitable infrastructure services for all families everywhere," said President Johnson. "The funding approved by Congress coalesced with the intervention from the EPA and DOJ to provide the city with critically needed federal support in the face of decades of racist neglect by Mississippi state officials. This wouldn't be possible without the leadership from Chairman Thompson and the Biden administration – and it was made possible by the tireless advocacy from Jackson residents and our allies on the ground. While this funding is a significant step in the right direction, it represents only a down payment. NAACP and our partners will continue to fight to protect Black and brown communities from environmental racism in Jackson and around the country."
The NAACP, alongside Jackson residents, has led the fight to address the Jackson Water Crisis and prevent Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves from continuing the state's long history of targeted neglect of families in Jackson and surrounding communities.
The NAACP also applauded the Department of Justice's (DOJ) appointment of an Interim Third Party Manager to operate and maintain the city of Jackson's water system. In its Stipulated Order, the DOJ outlines a number of issues that the City has faced regarding its water, many due to a lack of resources and funding to create a safe drinking water system. Across the country, Black cities often bear the brunt of Safe Drinking Water Act violations due to a lack of state and federal resources. Jackson is no exception. This Stipulated Order is an opportunity to begin to correct these problems.
In October, the EPA agreed to open a federal civil rights investigation into the State of Mississippi, heeding the call from the NAACP, which filed a federal discrimination complaint on behalf of numerous Jackson residents whose health, safety, and livelihoods have been threatened by the ongoing water crisis.
In September, Abre' Conner, Director of Environmental and Climate Justice at NAACP, testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security, where she clearly identified the intentional, targeted withholding of resources by Mississippi's state government and the need for direct federal intervention and resources as key factors in the water crisis in Jackson.
Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF – was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation's first civil and human rights law organization and shares our commitment to equal rights.