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Jackson Unable to Get Clean Water for Weeks Despite Obscene Ways Governors Have Used Public Funds in Mississippi

Is it too much to ask that welfare funds actually be spent on welfare?

frustrated woman

In late August, severe flooding exacerbated the already struggling water infrastructure of Jackson, Mississippi. The city had been under a boil order—to make their water safe to consume by boiling it first—since July thanks to cloudy water, but after that, the water wasn’t just cloudy; it was brown. The city told people on August 29, “The water shortage is likely to last the next couple of days.”

It has been over two weeks now, and clean water service has yet to be restored to the over 150,000 residents of Jackson, Mississippi.

This is yet another in a long list of cities and communities being left without clean water. (Remember Flint, Michigan?) It’s the reality caused by decades of underfunding water infrastructure, of not replacing decades-old pipes that are already long past their due.

But it’s also another reality of environmental racism. Jackson, Mississippi is 80% Black, but the legislators are almost all white.

“Race is still the most important factor in determining where money flows,” said Robert Bullard, director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice, in an interview with PBS.

This flagrant neglect is also making people ask: Where is our tax money going if not to clean water?

Well, it is to the most laughable places possible.

The State Auditor found that “$70 million in TANF welfare funds was doled out to a multimillionaire athlete, a professional wrestler, a horse farm and a volleyball complex.” The multimillionaire athlete was Brett Favre, who was paid $1.1 million in welfare funds for motivational speeches that he never made, and that volleyball complex was for the University of Southern Mississippi, conveniently where Brett Favre’s daughter plays the sport.

Could you get a more apt metaphor for the U.S.’s inequality than paying a white athlete millions and giving his daughter a new volleyball complex out of welfare funds meant for the poorest state in the country?

If you want to make your dissatisfaction with Governor Tate Reeves known, then call him at (601) 359-3150 or email him at [email protected]. Maisie Brown, a Jackson State University student, youth program director, advocate, and organizer, has compiled a list of organizations you can donate to help get clean water to those who need it.

Operation Good: Cashapp $operationgoodms.

Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity: Venmo, PayPal, and CashApp at @IAIEofMS.

Mississippi Rapid Response Coalition: raising funds through ActBlue

Greater Allen Temple AME Church: cash app labeled under water donation at $GATAMEC.

Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund Water Distribution Beginning Friday Spet 2nd @the fundshack 2210 Hill Ave Jxn from 3pm-8pm & in free pantry 24/7 Donate:  Venmo-laurie-roberts-13

(featured image: Shutterstock)

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Kimberly Terasaki is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. Dhe has been writing articles for them since 2018, going on 5 years of working with this amazing team. Her interests include Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Horror, intersectional feminism, and fanfiction; some are interests she has held for decades, while others are more recent hobbies. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan.