LaTosha Brown and Cliff Albright, co-founders of Black Voters Matter, issued the following statement today in response to President Biden’s emergency declaration for Jackson’s water crisis:

“President Biden’s decision to send federal resources to Mississippi has brought national attention to a long-standing water crisis and infrastructure issue that has disproportionately impacted low-income and Black communities in Jackson, MS for decades. At the root of this crisis is systemic racism, and the local and state governments’ intentional negligence to redirect infrastructure funds that could have helped solve this issue years ago. Jackson, which is 82.5% Black, is yet another example of a pattern of neglect that Black and Brown voters have faced across the South in which state and local governments ignore human rights and basic needs in our communities. 

“It is important to remember that this crisis is not an isolated event. Right-wing leaders have a track record of devaluing Black lives and placing power and their own agenda over the health and well-being of our people. We’ve seen these tactics used over and over again, throughout history and in recent years. From contaminated water in Flint, Michigan to the refusal to expand medicaid and attacks on reproductive healthcare that will have a disproportionate impact on Black maternal mortality, our health remains in jeopardy when there are racist practices and policies in place. 

“Republicans are using a concerted strategy to try and make Democrats look bad as they work to consolidate their power at the expense of endangering our lives. They are trying to kill us in the name of white supremacy, power and control. And we will not let them. 

“At Black Voters Matter, we are committed to supporting our partners on the ground in Mississippi and are working to ensure resources are deployed to those in need as soon as possible. We are also helping to spread the word about resources that Mayor Lumumba, the city government and community-based groups are making available to residents. And we are working to dispel hateful rhetoric and attempts by the far right to spread misinformation about Black leaders who have worked tirelessly for years to raise awareness about the city’s infrastructure needs.

“We know that the pursuit of freedom requires that we remain vigilant 365 days a year, and we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Jackson area as they demand the full equality that is our birthright.”