Local groups to assist Jackson, Miss. mutual aid caravan

Michael J. Collins, City reporter

A caravan will make its way through Bowling Green to deliver supplies to Jackson, Mississippi, after severe flooding crippled water infrastructure for thousands of residents.

Groups such as Rise and Shine BG and Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition will add supplies to the caravan as it passes on Saturday from Detroit and Philadelphia.

Residents of Jackson have lacked reliable access to clean water for over a month, though the impact of the city’s aging infrastructure has been felt for decades. While the city is set to receive federal relief funding, it will take time for reliable water to return to most residents.

Bowling Green resident Daisy Carter, founder of Rise and Shine BG, said the goal of the caravan is to support residents with necessities like clean water and hygiene products in the most direct way possible—without large organizations or government entities constrained by rules and bureaucracy.

“[Mutual aid is] filling in the gaps where the system is failing you,” Carter said. “You can do that by working from an ‘abundance mindset’ rather than a ‘scarcity mindset.’ That means everyone coming together and pooling together resources to help support the community by themselves.”

Jackson-based mutual aid organization Cooperation Jackson will oversee the distribution of supplies once delivered. 

Joshua Dedmond, operations director for Cooperation Jackson, said multiple caravans have been scheduled for this week. Dedmond said as many as 200 people lined up on Thursday to receive newly delivered supplies.

Black residents make up over 82% of Jackson’s population, according to the census data. Dedmond said while relief is important now, the long-term needs of residents require a much more concerted effort to take on white supremacy and ensure resources are equitably allocated.

“We’re going to continue to do what we can to meet the needs [of residents],” Dedmond said. “To make a protracted and long-term political fight for adequate resourcing for our people, and within that struggle, we’re going to set real social and political alternatives to meet people’s needs.”

City reporter Michael J. Collins can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MJCollinsNews