The City of Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, is in crisis. Its 150,000 residents lack access to safe drinking water. Many have not had enough water to bathe or flush their toilets. Those with enough water pressure are being instructed to shower with their mouths closed
This is so clear thanks to your great reporting. When I read this, I thought of Flint, MI. What can be done? Global and Local corporations and Politicians are abandoning the poorest people and urban communities. If people can’t drink their water, how can we expect them to do anything? Like vote, even. Much less all the things in life that depend on water? ❤️🤍💙
"Then Siemens, a multinational conglomerate based in Germany with extensive operations in the United States, appeared with a solution." Curious as to whether any Mississippi state official pocketed anything for bringing Siemens into the picture.
Let this be yet another example against the prevailing conservative narrative that privatization of essential needs is the best solution.
Thank you for the excellent reporting.
Unfortunately, these water problems are not limited to Flint and Jackson. There are many communities throughout the country, including those in the Central Valley of California, that don't have potable water.
Racism is a factor. It's easier to oppress people when you can color code them. But the more important common denominator is poverty. As you mentioned in your story, middle class blacks have also left the city.
Nearly 70 years ago my parents moved me from downtown DC to the Northern Virginia suburbs. One of the reasons that we moved was the difference in the quality of public schools in DC compared to those in Fairfax County. That difference became quite palpable to me when I nearly flunked second grade.
One of the commenters has asked what can we do. That's the right question. Wherever we are on the economic totem pole, we can either be in solidarity with those who have fewer resources than we do or we can be lackeys of the the rich and the powerful, fighting to maintain our middling positions.
Can we look at the poor and say that there but for the grace of God are we? Can we recognize our common humanity?
But being in solidarity requires much more than an attitude adjustment or a change in perspective: it's a call to action. Recognition of our common humanity and our common fate enables us to work together shoulder to shoulder.
What action is required? It depends on where you started and where you are now. If you have your health and are not already overburdened with other unavoidable commitments, there are opportunities to vote, to donate, to volunteer, to learn, to teach, and to advocate.
May we all be blessed with opportunities to be of assistance and the will to seize those opportunities.
This is a really sad story. Siemens seems like a shady company from this framing but it also sounds like Jackson's own can't help the situation. How the representatives from this state have let this go on as long as they have, they should be ashamed and resign in disgrace. But since it's mostly black people that are being affected, the rich white politicians can't be bothered to do their damn jobs...makes me sick!
Brilliant report, Judd. There is only one vice worse than intolerance, and that is greed.
Excellent article. Maddening how an entire state can turn its head to children in peril. And such a Christian response from good ol Gov. Tate. This is the same group with the tiny beating heart syndrome.
As for Seimens. How I despise the corporate 1%. They never cease to be disgusting.
What law firm represented Jackson. Run far from them if you are a city. Cities should take note. Dem voters should as well. Could be America in a future controlled by GOP minority
The entire situation begs to be armchair quarterbacked, but I’ll pick on the $90M settlement. The city’s private attorneys could do no better than a $90M settlement that didn’t make the city whole? Come on. This entire situation is even dirtier than the water itself.
Thanks for this great reporting. I hope that Jackson residents can find a way out of this. The privatization of basic necessities is always fraught with residents paying the price with their health and wallet.
About the time this was happening, Siemens had banners for their utility systems hung all over a section of O’Hare Airport. It sounds a lot like the hedge fund managers who crash pension systems during the housing bubble.
Thanks, Judd. Another timely and much-needed effort!
Such thorough and critical information. Bravo!!!!
Thank you for reporting on this Judd! This is absolutely horrific!
The story of Jackson, Siemens, and the Republican leaders of Mississippi is infuriating. This is the reason this state ranks low in just about everything.
I lived in Mississippi in the early 60's where they were still living the Civil War. We were Yankees and the locals were Rebels. We were a white family, so never experienced real prejudice or unfriendliness. We only stayed a few years and then moved north.
60 years laters I see nothing has changed in Mississippi except to become worse.
Great report. Eye opener but sadly not a surprise.
What a devastating story. Any ideas on what us readers can do to help?