Mississippi Rising Coalition holds the view that the quality of life and well-being of Mississippi citizens and the progress of our state are directly related to social, political and environmental factors, and these factors can be directly and positively impacted by our efforts.
As a guide to direct MRC’s organizational focus and actions, we have chosen to use the indicators of social progress as outlined and measured by the Social Progress Imperative in its Social Progress Index: Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Well-being and Opportunity.
Basic Human Needs
- Nutrition and basic medical care
- Personal safety
- Water and sanitation
Foundations of Well-being
- Access to basic knowledge
- Access to communications and information
- Health and wellness
- Ecosystem sustainability
- Personal rights
- Personal freedom and choice
- Tolerance and inclusion
- Access to education
“When we come together to lift the least of us, all of Mississippi will rise.”
MRC advocates for removal of the Confederate battle flag emblem from the Mississippi state flag. The Confederate emblem has been used since the Civil War to represent various groups, including the army and government of the Confederate States of America and numerous white supremacist groups, as a symbol of the system of white supremacy. Unspeakable acts of terror and violence against African Americans, Jews, LGBT citizens, immigrants, Catholics and other minorities have been committed by these groups under the Confederate emblem, and it is unacceptable that the flag representing our state enshrines the symbol of hate and flies on tax-payer funded public properties. The flag is a barrier to the social and economic progress of Mississippi, and we are committed to growing the momentum toward a new state flag that is a symbol of equality, unity and Southern pride.
We’re providing grassroots education on the history of the Confederacy and its symbols, post-Civil war history in Mississippi including the period of Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction, the Jim Crow era and the mid-19th century US Civil Rights movement in Mississippi; current neo-Confederate and white supremacist groups including their ideologies and symbols; the connection between cultural symbols and political systems; the role of racial reconciliation and racial equity in social progress and the impacts of government use of hate symbols as a barrier to social and economic progress; and the importance of voter registration and participation in democratic processes as means of facilitating social progress.
You can let your Mississippi elected officials and the world know why removal of the Confederate emblem from the state flag matters to YOU by participating in our #Takeitdown4me project. We’re talking REAL TALK with REAL MISSISSIPPIANS about why changing the state flag matters to them, and we’re videotaping their answers to share with the world on our MRC YouTube channel.
We’ll also share them on our Facebook page and Twitter account with the hashtag #Takeitdown4me. You can join the discussion by filming yourself, your friends or your family talking about why changing the state flag matters, and then post it with the hashtag #Takeitdown4me. Here’s MRC volunteer Jocelyn Bays of Biloxi on why removal of the Confederate emblem from the state flag matters to her:
If your organization or business would like to endorse flag change and join the growing list of individuals, businesses and organizations advocating for change and progress, download the Take It Down endorsement form here then complete the form and submit it to us by mail (PO Box 1077, Ocean Springs, MS 39564) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We’ll add you to the list, which will be hand-delivered to our legislators during the next legislative session.
Dialogue on Race in Mississippi (DORM)
Learn how to be a part of making your community stronger and more inclusive! MRC is offering Dialogue on Race in Mississippi (DORM), an educational process modeled after Dialogue on Race Original Series, the core program of an organization called Dialogue on Race Louisiana. Its focus is on education, action and transformation. The program is a six-session weekly series backed by factual materials that is facilitated by a biracial pair of trained race dialogue facilitators and structured to set a safe environment for open, honest and brave conversation about racism. The series is specifically designed to create increased awareness and understanding that leads to informed action and meaningful change around race and institutional racism in our communities. It’s a journey that needs to include all of Mississippi. For more information, email us at: email@example.com.
Mississippi Prison Reform Coalition
In January 2020, the Mississippi Prison Reform Coalition , led by the Mississippi Poor People’s Campaign, formed in the wake of deadly riots and violence inside the overcrowded, underfunded and inhumane Mississippi prison system. MPRC is a group of formerly incarcerated people, families with loved-ones in prison, advocacy organizations and concerned residents demanding that the state of Mississippi immediately REDUCE the prison population; REMOVE harmful conditions, policies and practices; REMEDY the harm and close Parchman prison for good.
MPRC coalition membership includes but is not limited to: Mississippi Poor People’s Campaign; People’s Advocacy Institute; Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy; Black With No Chaser; One Voice, MS; IWOC MS; MS Southern Poverty Law Center; Mississippi Rising Coalition with national partners including Color of Change, Until Freedom and others.
MS Gulf Coast Mutual Aid Network
When the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak began, we knew a rapid response disaster relief initiative would be critical to helping impacted individuals survive and meet basic needs now, and in the wake of future crises, while not falling prey to disaster capitalism. MS Gulf Coast Mutual Aid Network is a grassroots disaster relief network based on the principles of solidarity, mutual aid, and autonomous direct action. Mutual aid is voluntary, reciprocal, participatory assistance among equals and being with, not for, disaster survivors. By working with, listening to, and supporting impacted individuals and communities, especially our most vulnerable members, we support what they need to lead their own recovery and build long-term, sustainable and resilient communities.
Disaster survivors themselves are the first responders to crisis; the role of outside aid is to support survivors to support each other. The privileges associated with aid organizations and aid workers–which may include access to material resources, freedom of movement, skills, knowledge, experience, and influence—are leveraged in support of disaster survivor’s self-determination and survival in crisis, and their long-term resilience afterwards, ultimately redistributing these forms of power to the most marginalized.
If you would like to support our mutual aid network directly, you can make a donation here. All funds go toward direct financial and material aid and are tax-decutible.
Voter Registration & Civics Education
Your vote is your voice, and MRC is committed to helping every Mississippian’s voice be heard! We provide voter registration, education about voting rights and voter ID laws including how and where to obtain voter ID, and other important information about voting in Mississippi. We advocate for fair elections, including an end to voter suppression tactics and partisan gerrymandering.
For information about Mississippi voter ID laws, voter registration and the voting process, see our voter information guide below, or visit the Mississippi Secretary of State website.
We also provide “Know Your Rights” workshops upon request from your community or organization. Workshops are provided at no charge with curriculum and instruction provided by area civil rights attorneys. Instruction focuses on civil and constitutional rights, voting rights and process, individuals’ rights during interactions with law enforcement and ICE, legal observer training and basic civics.
Our nation and state is strongest when we embrace the diversity of people who choose to make the United States their home. Since the 2016 election of Donald Trump and his administration’s subsequent xenophobic, racist attacks on the immigrant community, protecting our documented and undocumented immigrant brothers and sisters and DACA recipients has become a primary focus of our efforts. MRC is part of the Mississippi Immigration Coalition. We partner with our immigrant communities, community organizers, legal advocacy groups and humanitarian relief organizations to defend the rights of documented and undocumented immigrants and protect families in Mississippi from being ripped apart. We advocate for comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform that builds a responsive, efficient, effective and humane immigration system.
Equity & Climate Policy
The climate crisis poses a real and dangerous threat to our communities and way of life, particularly here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. If the world’s leading climate scientists are right, we have about a decade to drastically reduce our carbon emissions and other greenhouse gas emissions. That means transforming our economy, particularly energy, transportation, agriculture, and public infrastructure and rethinking the way we design our cities.
Still, no matter what we do, we will continue to experience changes in climate that will have devastating impacts on our lives and livelihoods, with some communities experiencing disproportionate negative impacts. These are generally the same communities that have historically been excluded, marginalized, and oppressed. We call these communities frontline communities– Indigenous Peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, low-income workers, women, LGBTQ, elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, youth, and people with criminal records.
We believe we can address the climate crisis and inequality at the same time, and we have partnered with the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy and other regional organizations, in direct collaboration with these frontline communities, to develop an equitable policy platform specific to the Gulf South region, called the Gulf South for a Green New Deal Policy Platofrm. Equitable climate policy seeks to lessen and dissolve the unequal burdens created by climate change through genuine, systemic and transformative solutions that tackle the real cause of climate change.