MISSISSIPPI RISING COALITION is a non-profit, non-partisan, all-volunteer grassroots organization based on the Mississippi Gulf Coast comprised of citizens and ally and affinity organizations which support  our collective vision.

Our goal is to facilitate the state of Mississippi’s rise from the bottom to the top of the list of quality of life metrics by empowering individuals and communities through community organizing, education, coalition-building and advocacy in the areas of human and civil rights and social justice, and by increasing citizen engagement in the democratic processes of our state.


We mobilize people and resources to improve the well-being, quality of life and political power of marginalized Mississippians.

Values Statement

We recognize and are guided by the following principles:

  • equal value and dignity is inherent in every Mississippian, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sex, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, nation of origin, immigration status or housing status.
  • Our state’s diversity is one of its greatest assets, and every citizen has the potential to contribute to the progress of our state when given the opportunity to thrive in a healthy and supportive environment
  •  the rights of every human being to self-determination, self-expression, privacy, freedom from harm and the pursuit of happiness are human rights, and  informed participation in the democratic processes of our state plays a vital role in protecting those rights
  •  progress in areas of social justice and human and civil rights are foundations for economic progress and improved overall well-being of individual citizens and our state as a whole.


We will empower the citizens of Mississippi to shape the future of our state so that every Mississippian has equal opportunity to reach his or her fullest potential and achieve the highest possible quality of life and well-being.


Mississippi Rising Coalition bylaws set forth the purpose of MRC as a corporation and non-profit organization. The bylaws define membership in the Coalition, how often the Board of Directors must meet, number of Board Members, role of the Board and Directors, role of officers and the executive committee, procedures for discussion and decisions, Coalition governance, amendments and dissolution.  View the MRC bylaws here:

MRC Bylaws


The role of the Board is to safeguard the legal and financial integrity of the Coalition and ensure Coalition activities uphold its mission statement. The Board also assures that the proper balance between policy analysis, advocacy and community organizing and education is maintained.  Additional responsibilities include hiring and evaluating the Executive Director.

Board members are active social justice leaders within the Mississippi Gulf Coast community. The Coalition’s goal is to have a Board whose membership reflects the diversity of Mississippi’s demographics, including gender, race, culture, religion, skills and experience.

Lea Campbell  Founder, President

Ms. Campbell, a resident of Ocean Springs, MS,  has been a healthcare professional since 2001 and a passionate advocate for justice and equality for all Mississippi citizens since establishing her residence in the state in 2011.  She received her BA in Social Sciences from Troy University and her Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of South Alabama. Her advocacy and organizing work in Mississippi has focused on championing Medicaid expansion; removal of the Confederate emblem from the Mississippi state flag and equal civil rights and protections for LGBTQ citizens. Ms. Campbell also serves on Mississippi Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She has collaborated with other social justice  organizations including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Campaign for Southern Equality, the Flag for All Mississippians Coalition, the We Are All Mississippi Coalition,  CAYA (Come As You Are), the Mississippi Rainbow Center, Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, Organize America and the Aids Healthcare Foundation. She  is also a member of the Jackson County branch of the Mississippi NAACP, HRC Mississippi and the Steps Coalition.

Email:  contactmsrising@gmail.com

James Skinner

James Skinner is a native of Gulfport,  MS and has lived along the Coast throughout his life. Following graduation from high school, Mr. Skinner worked as an industrial painter throughout the Southeast before returning to Long Beach in 2005. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he enrolled at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College then transferred to William Carey University where he earned his BS in

Mass Communications in 2011. After working for the Sun Herald briefly and in TV production for four years, he decided to return to graduate school and pursue a Master’s Degree in Modern History. Mr. Skinner is passionate about studying different cultures, points of view and history as well as service to the Gulf Coast community and the state of Mississippi. Says Mr. Skinner, “I look forward to working with groups and individuals committed to making my community, state and country a better place for everyone.”

Email:  jskinner8227@yahoo.com

Kiara Taite

Kiara Taite is a Mississippi native, who lives in Pascagoula. She is a licensed Mississippi attorney, working with the Mississippi Center for Justice as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow. Kiara received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science in Sociology from Mississippi State University. She also graduated with her Juris Doctor and Graduate Diploma in Comparative Law from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University in May 2016. Kiara is passionate about increasing political participation and public education in human, constitutional, legal rights. In her free time, she serves as the current President of the Young Democrats of Jackson County and hopes to inspire young adults to become more proactive about making Mississippi a better place for everyone.
Email:  kiarataite@gmail.com

Lisa Foster

Lisa Foster is a resident of Petal, MS. She is a recent graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, receiving her Masters in War & Society (History) and a minor in Race & Ethnicity. Prior to graduate school, she spent ten years in the museum field and a total of fifteen years in non-profits. She was awarded the 2017 Mississippi Historical Society’s prize for best Mississippi History Now website article as co-author of the feature story “Jefferson Davis Soldier Home – Beauvoir.” She has also worked as a research consultant for an episode of the genealogy television show, “Who Do You Think You Are?” Her work and research interests include the Mississippi Homefront during the Civil War, the Confederate veteran, social welfare for Mississippi Confederates and their dependents (wartime aid and post-war pensions), and the Beauvoir Soldiers Home.

Email:  lisacfoster3@gmail.com