September 26, 2023

A protestor carries a sign that listed top legislative officials and their phone numbers, so Jackson residents might call and voice their opposition to Mississippi House Bill 1020, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, at the Mississippi Capitol. The proposal would create a separate court system in the Capitol Complex Improvement District in Jackson. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi has a long and troubling history when it comes to disenfranchising Black people, and the recent passage of House Bill 1020, also known as the Capitol Complex Improvement District bill, is just the latest example of that legacy. This bill, which was passed with no consultation or consideration from the greater Jackson community, the residents of Jackson, the state senators and state representatives who represent Jackson, the Hinds County Courts judges, and Jackson’s mayor and city council, is a blatant attack on Black political power and a historical attempt by white, often bigoted, politicians in Mississippi to find ways to undermine the progress and success of Black communities in the state.

The Capitol Complex Improvement District bill, creates a special district around the state capitol in Jackson, giving the governor and the state legislature control over the city’s infrastructure, development, and property taxes. This bill strips Jackson’s residents, who are overwhelmingly Black, of their right to self-governance and representation, and it is a direct affront to their voices and the voices of their elected officials.

This bill is not just a bad bill; it is a racist bill. It is rooted in the long history of white supremacy in Mississippi and the ongoing efforts of white politicians to maintain control and undermine Black communities in the state. From the exclusion of Black people from the political process during the Jim Crow era to the recent attack on voting rights, Mississippi has consistently found ways to disenfranchise Black people and undermine their political power.

The Capitol Complex Improvement District bill must be seen in this context as another attempt by white politicians to maintain control and undermine Black communities in Mississippi. It is a direct attack on the sovereignty of the city of Jackson and the Black political power that has been slowly built there.

We cannot allow the state of Mississippi to continue down this path of racism and disenfranchisement. We must stand together and fight against this bill and make it clear that the voices of Black people in Mississippi will not be silenced. The Capitol Complex, Improvement District bill must be defeated, and Black communities in Mississippi must be allowed to determine their own future.

The people of the Jackson Community have started a petition to gain support for their fight and bolster their demands to Lt. Governor Dilbert Hoseman. They’re asking that you consider signing the petition and making sure everyone knows the level of Black disenfranchisement that continues to happen in the state. You can read and sign the petition here.

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