But nary a drop to drink. From somewhere I remember that poetic line. What tiggers the recall is the situation upriver from New Orleans in Jackson, Mississippi where my friend C. Liegh lives. At this point I should say survives–they have gone days without potable water flowing through the faucets. Now they can’t even bath in it nor was dishes. Nothing. Nada. It’s verboten.
Where I’m from, we go through days, sometimes weeks of water disruption during the perennial hurricane seasons. I know how it feels, and as we say: it ain’t nothing nice!
It’s worse, of course, when it is as it is in Jackson. Not a natural disaster, but rather a man-made, preventable calamity. Jarvis DeBerry, a colleague from Mississippi wrote this about the situation.
The reality of racism hitting hard. Find out more about Jackson. Do whatever your can, even if it is no more than spreading the word about what’s going on.
I close with the words of C. Liegh McGinnis, who sent out a recent posting:
Thanks to so many of y’all from around the country for checking with us regarding Jackson, Mississippi’s water crisis. Unfortunately, flooding is a usual thing in many parts of Mississippi, even the capital city. And, then, the failing water system of Jackson compounds the issue. My area (Clinton) is cool, and the water has begun to recede in some of the hardest-hit areas. Yet, because Jackson’s water treatment center is so old, one of the pumps failed and has left much of the city without water. And, no one knows how long this will continue. Again, Clinton and the areas around Jackson are fine though many folks in Jackson are suffering. The real issue is that Jackson doesn’t have a tax base. As I’ve stated before, white flight does not kill a city. But, the majority of the black middle class left both the city of Jackson and Hinds County. (My wife, Monica, and I were determined to remain in Hinds County because of its majority black population.) So, without a tax base, the city has no way to repair its water treatment center or is outdated pipe system. Additionally, because two of Jackson’s black city councilmen have been wasting time haggling with Mayor Chokwe Lumumba to ensure that a black-owned company does not receive the contract for the city’s garbage collection services, which it fairly and lawfully won, the city has not been able to do much about its failing water treatment and pipe system. To make matters worse, the racist Governor Ole Tater Tot and the Mississippi legislature is withholding the funds that can repair the system because it wants Jackson (a majority black city) to relinquish its control of the city airport to one of the neighboring all-white cities. Moreover, Tater has a history of rejecting federal funds designed to provide aid and relief to poor people because keeping people poor and poorly educated is what keeps them chained to the planation system. Thus, it’s Mississippi politics as usual, and, at the moment, the evil-ass Confederates have the upper hand as they are aided by inept Negroes. But, thanks to U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson for using his position as head of Homeland Security to leverage President Joe Biden to sign the Mississippi Emergency Declaration, which will provide necessary funds. However, at the moment, I don’t know how much this assistance will extend to repairing the water treatment center and the years of old pipes. (The Jackson Advocate has an insightful article about federal aid here.) Still, Thompson and Biden have already done more for Afro-Mississippians in this moment than King of the Taters has done his entire time as Governor. So, thanks for thinking of us. But, my family is good so far. Also, my sister, Beth, and brother, Chris, who live in Jackson, have decent water pressure. Nevertheless, a good portion of Jackson is in bad shape with no real help in sight as of yet. Of course, Monica has been doing Monica-like things, such as taking water to folks and even offering some shower time to family and a few folks we know. My job is to make sure that we have enough clean towels. Don’t really know how that became my job, but it is what it is.