Late last month, Mississippi’s Pearl River flooded, cresting well above its 26 foot barrier, after a torrential rainstorm. The reality here can’t be sugar coated. Dozens of homes are destroyed. Hundreds of people are displaced. And the aftermath has left Jackson, Mississippi, and much of southern Mississippi desperate for a real solution.
Jackson is Mississippi's largest city, and home to the cherished Jackson State University. Unfortunately, the problems started long before the flood last month. In 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency pinned Mississippi for neglecting to rectify some serious issues regarding the state’s water system. This includes failing to replace old lead pipes, operating severely understaffed water plants and poor monitoring of equipment. There have been records of cloudy water and low water pressure long before the flood but last month’s storm pushed the water system to the brink.
Mississippi is now facing some serious consequences and Jackson has some of the worst of it. Without a safe and reliable water supply, standard activities cannot take place. K-12 schools have had to return to virtual learning after so much anticipation of returning to in person learning at this point in the pandemic. Jackson State University has had to delay college move since the showers, sinks and toilets are out of service. The lack of water poses a fire hazard since the sprinkler systems cannot function as well as possible long term damage to the university's water pumps.But there is hope. “A Mississippi Department of Finance Administration document obtained by NBC News shows the university is scheduled to receive $2.25 million in American Rescue Plan dollars in the next fiscal year.” Unfortunately this is less than half the requested $5 million and these problems can’t wait. That’s where you come in. You can help Jackson, MS and the affected members of our HBCU community by donating here. And remember, 15% of HBCU Leggings’ proceeds are donated back to the schools for moments just like this.