Bennie G. Thompson
- 1 Background
- 2 Local politics
- 3 Jackson supporter
- 4 Hollis Watkins connection
- 5 National politics
- 6 Democratic Agenda
- 7 "SURVIVALFEST 84"
- 8 DSA endorsement
- 9 Supported Communist Party front
- 10 Congressional Black Caucus
- 11 Martinez Jobs Bill
- 12 Congressional Progressive Caucus
- 13 Staffer's 2000 trip to Cuba
- 14 Promoting medical training in Cuba
- 15 Health Care Access resolution
- 16 2005 trip to Cuba
- 17 Posada letter
- 18 Talking to the "World"
- 19 Coalition of Black Trade Unionists 2008 conference
- 20 CBTU 2009 conference
- 21 Coalition of Black Trade Unionists 2013 conference
- 22 2015 CBTU conference
- 23 Peace Pledge Coalition
- 24 Voted against cutting funding for ACORN
- 25 Voting rights press conference
- 26 Endorsing Lumumba
- 27 Lumumba Transition Executive Committee
- 28 Lifting travel ban on Cuba
- 29 ARA PAF endorsement, 2014
- 30 Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary
- 31 Southern Echo connection
- 32 Jaribu Hill connection
- 33 "Building Bridges to Empower a true majority" conference
- 34 Flag protest
- 35 March on Mississippi
- 36 Chokwe Antar Lumumba connection
- 37 No Trump
- 38 Staff
- 39 External links
- 40 References
As a young man growing up in rural Bolton, Mississippi, Thompson was well aware of the realities that plagued the South. The experiences that his family endured made him determined to be an advocate for those of who were oftentimes underserved.
While earning his Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science degrees from Tougaloo College and Jackson State University, respectively, Thompson began to develop his grassroots political activism. He joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee , and helped to organize voter registration drives for African-Americans in the Mississippi Delta. As a product of the Civil Rights Movement, Thompson has remained committed to ensuring that all people are allowed to exercise their fundamental rights.
After graduating from college, Thompson followed in the footsteps of his mother and worked as a schoolteacher. It was during this time that he began to aggressively pursue a career in politics.
Congressman Thompson is a lifelong member of the Asbury United Methodist Church in Bolton, Mississippi. He has been married to his college sweetheart, London Johnson of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, for 42 years. 
From 1968 to 1972, Thompson served as alderman, and he went on to serve as mayor from 1973 to 1980 in Bolton, Mississippi. As mayor of Bolton, Mississippi and founding member and President of the Mississippi Association of Black Mayors, he initiated policies and provided services that benefited the underserved citizens of his hometown.
In 1975, having firsthand knowledge of the disparity between funding, equipment, and supplies provided to historically black universities and those provided to white colleges, Thompson filed a lawsuit to increase funding at Mississippi’s historically black universities. With Thompson as lead plaintiff, the case was subsequently settled for an unprecedented $503 million.
From 1980 to 1993, Thompson served as County Supervisor for Hinds County and was the founding member and President of the state’s Association of Black Supervisors. His reputation of being a pragmatic local public servant afforded him an opportunity to be the vocal champion for his constituents.
On May 5 1984, at the Mississippi Democratic Party convention, Bennie Thompson was elected to the DNC. An early Jesse Jackson supporter, Thompson had the support of all the Jackson delegates. Reporting on the event for the Communist Workers Party's Workers Viewpoint, Mike Alexander described Thompson as a "genuinely progressive, honest young politician, who can be counted on not to sell his people out".
Hollis Watkins connection
Hollis Watkins was involved in managing, advising and working on many political campaigns, including the 1967 campaign for Robert Clark to become the first African-American elected to the Mississippi State Legislature since Reconstruction, both Presidential Campaigns of Rev. Jesse Jackson, the 1986 campaign of Mike Espy who was elected as the first African-American Congressman, and the 1993 campaign of Congressman Bennie Thompson.
In 1993, Thompson was elected the Democratic Congressman for Mississippi’s Second District. Congressman Thompson’s Second District is comprised of 23 counties – Attala, Bolivar, Carroll, Claiborne, Coahoma, Copiah, Hinds, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Jefferson, Leake, Leflore, Madison, Montgomery, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tunica, Warren, Washington, and Yazoo.
In 2000, Thompson authored legislation creating the National Center for Minority Health and Health Care Disparities, which subsequently became law. He received a Presidential appointment to serve on the National Council on Health Planning and Development.
In 2006, during the 109th Congress, Thompson’s Washington colleagues "expressed their overwhelming confidence in his abilities", as they promoted him to serve as the first Democratic Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. As Chairman, Congressman Thompson introduced and engineered House passage of the most comprehensive homeland security package since September 11, 2001 - H.R. 1, the “9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007”. Congressman Thompson’s reputation as a no-nonsense visionary has provided him an opportunity to serve his third term as Chairman.
More than 1,200 people attended the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee initiated Democratic Agenda Conference held November 16-18, 1979, at the International Inn and Metropolitan AM Church in Washington 1 DC. The conference focused on "corporate power'; as the key barrier to "economic and political democracy," concepts many Democratic Agenda participants defined as "socialism.'
The Democratic Agenda meetings attempted to develop anti-corporate alternatives" through influencing the direction of the Democratic Party during the period leading to the July 1980 Democratic National Convention in New York.
SURVIVAL FEST 84 was held August 5 1984 in MacArthur Park.
"Come To Hear And Strategize With Those Changing The 1980's"
- How can we support each other in electing progressive local candidates?
- How can we make electoral work serve the grassroots movements for a freeze, for U.S. out of Central America and human needs?
- How can we over turn the racist dual primary system in the South?
- Is working inside and outside the Democratic Party a viable strategy and how can it be done?
- How can we formulate demands to revitalize our basic industries without falling into the pitfall of the chauvinist anti-import solution -- letting U.S. finance capital off the hook?
This event was organized by the Communist Workers Party front, the Coalition for a People's Convention. The event was advertised in a half-page notice in the Marxist weekly Guardian, their Book Supplement - Summer 1984, p. 12, and the Communist Workers Party and Federation For Progress were listed as participants.
Supported Communist Party front
In 1982 Bennie Thompson served on the National Coordinating Committee of a Communist Party USA front the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, which was led by leading Party members Angela Davis and Charlene Mitchell.
Congressional Black Caucus
Martinez Jobs Bill
In 1994, the Communist Party USA backed Martinez Jobs Bill (HR-4708), was co-sponsored by Democratic Party California Reps Howard Berman, Xavier Becerra, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Robert Scott (Va), Tom Foglietta (Pa), Bennie Thompson (Miss), John Lewis (Ga) and Ed Pastor (Az). Maxine Waters of California was a principal co-sponsor. 
Congressional Progressive Caucus
Staffer's 2000 trip to Cuba
In February 2000, Marsha McCraven from the office of Congressman Bennie Thompson spent five days in Havana, Cuba, for the purpose of "information gathering". The trip cost $1,778.47 and was paid for by the Christopher Reynolds Foundation.
Promoting medical training in Cuba
The invitation for U.S. students to earn a free medical education in Cuba dates to June 2000, when a group from the Congressional Black Caucus visited Cuban president Fidel Castro. It was presided over by the then Caucus President James Clyburn, from North Carolina, and was made up of Bennie Thompson from Mississippi and Gregory Meeks from New York. Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) described huge areas in his district where there were no doctors, and Castro responded with an offer of full scholarships for U.S. citizens to study at ELAM. Later that year, Castro spoke at the Riverside Church in New York, reiterating the offer and committing 500 slots to U.S. students who would pledge to practice in poor U.S. communities. Castro opened the doors of the program to 500 U.S. students who began enrolling two years later.
"The advantage is that you graduate a bilingual doctor and there are so many communities in the United States where this is such an important (asset)," said Ellen Bernstein, associate director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, the New York-based group that helps screen applicants for the program.
Nine U.S. students have graduated and 105 are enrolled in the six-year program now. None is from Mississippi, where the state Health Department's Policy and Planning Office says every county in the state is medically underserved to some degree.
Hoping to entice a few students from the Magnolia State, Thompson will be in Itta Bena Saturday hosting A Dream of A Lifetime Conference, which will educate high school and college students about going to the Latin American School of Medical Sciences in Cuba. Previous recruiting efforts in Mississippi consisted of sending mailings to schools, Thompson said.
The U.S. maintains a trade embargo that prevents selling certain products to Cuba, and relations between the two governments remain icy, but the free medical education is unaffected by the countries' political relations, Thompson said.
The Association of American Medical Colleges earlier this year estimated the medical class of 2007 has an average student loan debt of more than $139,000, including undergraduate years. That student loan payment equates to more than $2,000 a month with a 6.8 percent interest rate.
"Here's an opportunity to get a degree and start off not owing anyone," Thompson said.
At Saturday's program, potential students will hear from two U.S. students enrolled at the Cuban medical school: Keasha Guerrier, a 23-year-old from Long Island, New York, and Akua Brown, a 32-year-old from San Francisco. The women, who just completed their third year of medical school, are working with Dr. Luke Lampton, a Magnolia family practice physician who also is chairman of the state Board of Health.
"Their clinical knowledge is comparable to the United States' medical students at this stage," Lampton said. "What impresses me most about these students is their courage and their boldness in trying to study medicine in a foreign language. Medical school is hard enough if you don't have to take classes in Spanish."
Brown and Guerrier speak very highly of the program they learned about on National Public Radio, but they've had to make some adjustments. Both natives of metropolitan areas, they were not used to life without plentiful public transportation, stores that don't have extended hours and not being able to buy fruits and vegetables outside their natural growing seasons.
- Congressman Thompson’s visit to Cuba in June 2000, paved the way to exploring the possibility of trading agricultural and medical products with the communist state. In addition, he has sought to explore medical education and training opportunities that may exist for Second District students in Cuba.
- In May 2000, another Caucus delegation visited us. It was presided over by the then Caucus President James Clyburn, from North Carolina, and was made up of Bennie Thompson from Mississippi and Gregory Meeks from New York. These congressmen were the first to learn from me of Cuba’s disposition to grant a number of scholarships to low-income youths, to be selected by the Congressional Black Caucus, so that they could come to Cuba and study medicine. We made a similar offer to the "Pastors for Peace" NGO, which is presided over by Reverend Lucius Walker, who sent the first students to the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).
- When the anti-Cuban pressures and activities of the Bush administration were intensified with respect to travel and the presence in Cuba of persons under U.S. jurisdiction, Black Caucus legislators addressed Secretary of State Colin Powell and managed to secure a license that legally allowed American youths to continue their medical studies – which they had already begun – in Cuba.
- “Of 23 counties that I represent, 22 of them are medically underserved…. One of the reasons the Congressional Black Caucus wanted to go to Cuba is that as we traveled around the world, in some of the most remote places we would always run up on Cuban doctors. So we went to Cuba.”
Hon. Bennie Thompson, U.S. House of Representatives, Mississippi.
2005 Cuba trip
Mississippi farmers hoping to give Cubans a taste for catfish and other local delicacies are heading to the island nation this June.
"If we aren't lucky with our individual pursuits, at least we can bring back a little knowledge," said Dickie Stevens, part owner of Isola-based Confish Inc., the largest fish processor in Mississippi.
Also planning to travel to Cuba are Isaac Byrd, a Jackson lawyer and soybean farmer; Leflore County Board of Supervisors President Robert Moore; Sykes Sturdivant, whose family owns a cotton and corn farm in Glendora; Mike Wagner, owner of a rice, corn and soybean farm in Sumner; and Danny Brookins, an exporter who has a business in Biloxi.
Except for Thompson, members of the delegation are paying their own way to Havana. The New York-based Christopher Reynolds Foundation, a nonprofit that funds projects aimed at improving U.S.-Cuba relations, is paying Thompson's travel costs.
Thompson said he discovered a new market for farmers in his Delta-based district during his first trip to Cuba.
"Agriculture is the second-leading income producer in my district next to gaming," said Thompson, a Democrat. "There are some opportunities for us in a country that is so close to our borders."
The delegation hopes to meet with top Cuban officials, including Castro, visit a Cuban farm and tour historic old Havana.
Back to Cuba
The Congressman has visited Cuba five times since 2000, taking corn and rice farmers who were interested in trade on previous trips.
He says the Cubans are receptive and both countries could share research, educational and business opportunities after five decades.
"We don't have to agree with everything the Russians do, but we have relationships with them," said Thompson. "So there are other countries that we don't like their form of government, but as Americans we can still do business with them." 
Health Care Access resolution
John Conyers promoted House Concurrent Resolution 99 (H. Con Res. 99) Directing Congress to enact legislation by October 2004 that provides access to comprehensive health care for all Americans. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES April 4, 2001.
Sponsors:John Conyers (for himself), Jan Schakowsky, John Tierney, Barbara Lee, Donna Christensen, David Bonior, Dennis Kucinich, Earl Hilliard, Maurice Hinchey, Jerry Nadler, Donald Payne Chaka Fattah, Peter DeFazio, John Lewis Tammy Baldwin, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Barney Frank, Henry Waxman, Cynthia McKinney, Jim Langevin, George Miller Alcee Hastings, Patsy Mink, John Olver , Bennie Thompson, Pete Stark, Julia Carson, and Mike Capuano submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce;
- Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that the Congress shall enact legislation by October 2004 to guarantee that every person in the United States, regardless of income, age, or employment or health status, has access to health care..
2005 trip to Cuba
In May 2005, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson and two of his staff members, Timla Washington and Steve Gavin spent four days in Havana, Cuba, for the purpose of "Cuba business, fact finding". The trip cost $1,298.26 and was paid for by the Christopher Reynolds Foundation.
In 2005 several far left Congressmembers wrote to President Bush urging him to extradite alleged terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela to face justice.
- We are writing to urge you to oppose the application for asylum by Luis Posada Carriles, and to support the request for extradition to Venezuela, where he is a fugitive from justice.
Signatories were; Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Cynthia McKinney, John Olver, James McGovern, Donald Payne, Lane Evans, Carolyn Maloney, Tammy Baldwin, Lynn Woolsey, Jose Serrano, Raul Grijalva, Maurice Hinchey, Bobby Rush, Edolphus Towns, Sam Farr, Bennie Thompson, Ed Pastor, Sheila Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters.
Talking to the "World"
The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists held their 34th annual CBTU convention in Tucson, May 26 2005.
At a “town hall meeting” on African American, Native American, Asian American and Latino relations, including leaders from these communities, panels pointed out the importance of united action to defeat the ultra-right attacks on labor and the poor. After addressing the meeting, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told the Communist Party USA paper Peoples World, “The issue for people of color in the labor movement is that they have to stay together. As organizations change sometimes people of color are overlooked. And if they don’t stick together they lose out. And one of the things I want to share with them is if you don’t stick together then you come in on the short end of the stick.”
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists 2008 conference
CBTU 2009 conference
On May 23, 2009 Carolyn Williams, William Lucy, Honorable Bennie Thompson Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, John Sweeney addressed the Awards Banquet of the 38th Annual Convention of Coalition of Black Trade Unionists in Atlanta, GA.
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists 2013 conference
The 2013 CBTU convention "will feature several outstanding panels and presentations on the racial wealth gap, immigration reform, the drop-out crisis in the black community, and the pending implementation of Obamacare".
Guest speakers include Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and Larry Rousseau, executive vice president, Public Service Alliance of Canada. CBTU President Emeritus William Lucy will be the special keynote speaker at CBTU’s Awards Banquet.
2015 CBTU conference
Peace Pledge Coalition
In 2007 90 Members of Congress, pledged in an open letter delivered to President Bush: "We will only support appropriating funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office." The letter was initiated by the Peace Pledge Coalition. The Coalition was led by Tim Carpenter, Progressive Democrats of America, Bob Fertik, Democrats.com Medea Benjamin, CodePink, Bill Fletcher, co-founder of Center for Labor Renewal David Swanson, AfterDowningStreet.org, Democrats.com, Progressive Democrats of America, Kevin Zeese, Voters for Peace, Democracy Rising, Brad Friedman, co-founder of Velvet Revolution, Bill Moyer, Backbone Campaign.
Voted against cutting funding for ACORN
In September 2009, following the lead of their Senate colleagues, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to cut off funds to ACORN. the vote was 345-75. All of the 75 were Democrats, and included Bennie G. Thompson. 
Voting rights press conference
July 13, 2011 WASHINGTON, DC-- Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) made this statement today at the voting rights press conference:
"[In Ohio] We have one of the most draconian voter suppression bills in the United States. If we are going to have a society that involves all of its citizens, we cannot allow for these kinds of bills to be passed by legislature after legislature... Across this country, 11% of all people who are eligible to vote do not have a government issued ID. That's 21 million people. Every time we take one step forward, we take two steps back. And we're not going to allow it to happen. "
Members in attendance:
Rep. Bennie Thompson, Rep. Corrine Brown, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Gwen Moore, Rep. Betty Sutton, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Donna Christensen, Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Karen Bass.
Organizations and leaders in attendance:
Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Tamika Mallory, National Action Network, Barbara Arnwine, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Laura Murphy, American Civil Liberties Union Hilary Shelton, NAACP, Rafael Collazo, National Council of La Raza/Democracia USA, Nichole Austin-Hillery, Brennan Center for Justice, Campus Progress, Center for American Progress, Diallo Brooks, People for the American Way.
In mid May 2013 Rep. Bennie Thompson spent a day campaigning with Jackson Mississippi mayoral candidate Chokwe Lumumba around the city. He was also joined by former candidate Regina Quinn, Sen. Sollie Norwood (D- Jackson), Supervisor Kenny Stokes and Councilwomaman Larita Cooper-Stokes.
- In the past week, we’ve seen a slew of endorsements between both Jackson mayoral candidates Councilman Chokwe Lumumba and Jonathan Lee. There is no question that the most prized endorsement belonged to Second District Congressman Bennie Thompson of Bolton.
- In this 1 minute radio ad that features the congressman’s very familiar hook “He’s the one we need”, Rep. Thompson skewers Lee by tying him to Rankin and Madison County Republicans and referring to Councilman Lumumba as “the real Democrat” in the race.
- I’m certain that all of the candidates sought the endorsement of Congressman Thompson but now that he has thrown his support behind Chokwe Lumumba, it will be interesting to see if it will close the gap and and change the trajectory of the race.
Lumumba Transition Executive Committee
Circa June 18, Jackson Mayor-elect Chokwe Lumumba announced the members of an advisory committee that will help ease his transition into the mayor’s office in July.
- Co-chair Safiya Omara, director of the Southern Institute for Mental Health Advocacy Research and Training at Jackson State University
- Co-chair Synarus Green, legislative aide to Rep. Bennie Thompson
- Akil Bakari, managing partner for Expert Professionals Solutions, LLC.
- Bill Chandler, executive director of Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance
- Bill Dilday, political analyst and owner of the Kerimax Communications
- Barry Howard, a senior partner at the Howard Law Firm
- Nsombi Lambright, former Executive Director of the Mississippi ACLU
- Merrill McKewen, resource development director for Habitat for Humanity
- Michael Thomas, vice-president of finance at JSU.
- Latrice Westbrooks, an attorney
On March 8 2014, hundreds of people, especially from the South and particularly Jackson, Miss., came to mourn and reflect on the life of Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, who died suddenly on Feb. 25 at the age of 66. Starting with a March 5 tribute at the historically Black college, Jackson State University, Mayor Lumumba’s life was memorialized for several days, ending with the masses lining the streets for his burial motorcade.
People gathered for the “Home Going Ceremony” in the main room in the Jackson Convention Complex, with hundreds more in an overflow area. They were regaled for hours with stories of a young Chokwe, before he took the name honoring an African people who resisted slavery, the Chokwe of Central Africa, together with the name of the great anti-imperialist Patrice Lumumba, the first elected Prime Minister of Congo assassinated at the behest of the CIA in 1961.
Besides his son, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, and daughter, Rukia Lumumba, those on the program included Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain NAACP leader, Medgar Evers; Civil Rights leader Hollis Watkins; Congressperson Bennie Thompson; interim Jackson Mayor Charles Tillman; former Mississippi Gov. William Winter; and singer Cassandra Wilson. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan sent a condolences statement.
Lifting travel ban on Cuba
- Due to your action/emails/phone calls we have 59 signatures from House representatives urging President Obama to support travel to Cuba by granting general licenses for ALL current categories of travel.
- By eliminating the laborious license application process, especially for people-to-people groups, that is managed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the majority of the bureaucratic red tape that holds up licensable travel to Cuba would disappear and actually facilitate what the President wanted to see in 2011, liberalized travel regulations.
Signatories included Rep. Bennie Thompson.
ARA PAF endorsement, 2014
Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) moderated a plenary panel at the Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary Conference at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi on Saturday, June 28, 2014. The panel, entitled “Our Southern Strategy: Where Do We Go from Here,” focused on the role that the South plays in changing the way that democracy applies to all citizens in the United States. The panel included fellow congressional members: G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), and Bennie Thompson (D-MS). Tougaloo College was crucial to the Civil Rights Movement, a safe haven for many activists and a gathering place for the leaders of the Movement. The panel was part of the weeklong Freedom Summer 50th anniversary intergenerational conference. Danny Glover; Julian Bond; Dick Gregory; Sherrilyn Ifill, President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and Benjamin Jealous, former President and CEO of the NAACP, were among the participants.
Southern Echo connection
Jaribu Hill connection
Errick D. Simmons October 7, 2016:
"Building Bridges to Empower a true majority" conference
Louis Head October 23, 2015:
Ricardo Briones, Southwest Workers Union - San Antonio, Marilyn L. Young - Tunica, MS, Rep. Bennie Thompson, Brenda Hyde - Southern Echo, Inc. and Leroy Johnson - Southern Echo lead off Voting Rights Act Anniversary Convening in Jackson, MS South X Southwest Experiment — in Madison, Mississippi.
Dozens of Mississippians protested outside the U.S. Capitol on Flag Day, June 2016 , hoping to generate enough national support to pressure Mississippi lawmakers to change the state flag, the only one in the country that still features the emblem of the Confederacy. Critics of the flag say it's a symbol of hate and a reminder of the South's segregationist past.
“The real issue for all of us is the symbol that that flag represents,’’ said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who spoke at the rally. “It doesn’t matter whether it flies in the Capitol or whether it’s on a cemetery or a (Veterans Affairs) hospital — all those symbols need to be pushed aside. … But you know, it’s a tough row to hoe.’’
But House lawmakers blocked another attempt by Thompson last week to also remove from House grounds all other items featuring the Confederate flag, including statues.One of the speakers was Carlos Moore, an attorney from Grenada who filed a federal lawsuit asking the court to declare the Confederate flag unconstitutional. “Historically, the federal courts have been the only way we have got any civil rights advanced in Mississippi,’’ he said.
Celebrities, congressional lawmakers and others joined Tuesday's protest. Actress Aunjanue Ellis, star of the TV series "Quantico" and a McComb resident, sponsored the trip for dozens of Mississippians.
“This flag must come down because it represents everything that America is supposed to not be,’’ he said. “When that flag comes down, love goes up.’’
Legislation to change or remove the flag haven't made it to the floor of the state Legislature.
State Rep. Kathy Sykes, D-Jackson, plans to reintroduce her bill next year — when the state celebrates its bicentennial and opens a civil rights museum — that would adopt a flag designed by Laurin Stennis, granddaughter of the late Democratic Sen. John C. Stennis of Mississippi. Sykes held up the Stennis flag at Tuesday's rally.
March on Mississippi
Citing a pattern of civil rights abuses by Nissan against its predominantly African-American workforce in Mississippi, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, actor Danny Glover, NAACP President Cornell William Brooks and hundreds of workers, civil rights leaders, and social justice advocates converged on the automaker’s factory in Canton, March 4, 2017, to demand that the company respect its workers’ right to vote for a union free from fear and intimidation.
The March on Mississippi – expected to be the largest protest to hit the Magnolia State in years – follows a series of rallies at Nissan dealerships that swept across the South last month.
“I am proud to join in fighting to give workers at Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi, plant the justice, dignity and the right to join a union that they deserve,” said Sen. Sanders. “Nissan has union representation at 42 out of its 45 plants around the world. The American South should not be treated differently. What the workers at the Nissan plant in Mississippi are doing is a courageous and enormously important effort to improve their lives.”
The march was organized by the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan (MAFFAN), a coalition of civil rights leaders, ministers and worker advocates. In addition to Sen. Sanders, Glover and Brooks, a diverse coalition of politicians and civil rights leaders including U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, former Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner, Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson, and Sierra Club President Aaron Mair joined the march.
“Powerful corporations like Nissan are the poster-child for America’s rigged economy,” said Danny Glover. “Nissan’s arrival in Canton promised good jobs for the community, but instead the company has committed rampant safety and health violations and denied its workers their basic right to vote for a union free from fear and intimidation. Nissan workers in Canton have my full support for their fight for fairness and respect at the workplace.”
The March on Mississippi began with pre-march speeches by Sanders, Glover and others at 12:30 p.m. CST at the Canton Sportsplex, 501 Soldiers Colony Road, in Canton. Protestors then marched approximately two miles to Nissan’s assembly plant to deliver a message to the company: Workers’ rights equal civil rights.
Chokwe Antar Lumumba connection
Congressman Bennie Thompson, at the January 2017 Jackson Community Kwanzaa Celebration, encouraged citizens to retain hope in the face of the swearing-in of Donald Trump. He reminded them that they and their ancestors survived slavery, segregation and Jim Crow; the administrations of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George Bush I and II.
At the state level, Congressman Thompson and Chokwe Antar Lumumba, speaking to the crowd at the Medgar Evers Community Center, underscored the attacks of the Republican dominated government on (1) Jackson Public Schools and public schools in general, through underfunding and the multiplication of charter schools, (2) Jackson's airport, and (3) the governance of Jackson's Capitol Complex. (Thompson also referenced the attempt to convict Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith as a part of the attack on black people in the Jackson and Hinds County area.) All of them also indicated that there is probably more to come in the new session.
Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Jackson, Mississippi’s revolutionary mayor, would not be sharing the stage with President Donald Trump at the grand opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum this December 9 2017.
“I believe that Trump’s presence is a distraction. His policies don’t reflect his statements that this is a movement that will bring people together. Trump has not demonstrated a continuing dedication to the ideals the civil rights movement upholds,” Lumumba said
Trump will no longer be speaking at the museum opening—since the announcement that he would was met with justifiable rage and disgust—but he will still be in attendance.
To add further insult to injury, Lumumba learned that he would also not have the opportunity to speak at the historic event.
“I had some words that I wanted to say,” Lumumba said, “but when I found out that I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to speak, I decided that I didn’t want to share the stage with Trump.”
U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), will also not be in attendance because of Trump’s "toxic" presence.
“President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum,” Thompson and Lewis said in a joint statement.
The following are past and present staff:
- Lugman Abdullah
- Patrick Ables
- Geri Adams
- Patrick Allen
- Curtis Austin
- Issac Lanier Avant (Lanier)
- Ashley Beale
- Stephanie Booker
- Paul Brathwaite
- Zahra Buck
- Tamara Butler
- Dornesha Catchings
- Waikinya Clanton
- Robert Collier
- Tonia Cowan
- Myra Lynette Dandridge
- Sherrina Dixon
- Christopher Espy (Chris)
- Alonzo Evans
- Brian Fernandez
- Stephanie Fleming
- Shirlethia Franklin
- Brenda Funches
- Stephen Gavin (Steve)
- Trina George
- J. William Goold (Bill)
- Synarus Derron Green
- Karis Trammell Gutter
- Marilyn Lee Hansell
- Jamila Harris
- Constance Harvey
- Santita Hooper
- Charlie Horhn
- Cory Horton
- Terica House
- Jewel James
- LeMia Jenkins
- Jennifer Jimerson
- Lacy Johnson
- Jean Key-Shinard
- Cietta Kiandoli
- Kamel King
- Minnie Langham
- Andrea Lee
- Joe E.Leonard
- Andrea Martin
- Marsha McCraven
- Samuel McCray
- Michael Montgomery
- John Jioni Palmer (Jioni)
- Brian Nelson Perry
- Alicia Petersen
- Megan Pittman
- Latrice Powell
- Je'Kendra Quinnett Robinson
- Angela Teresa Rye
- Irene Schwoeffermann
- Tara Smith
- Raymond Starkes
- Delarious Stewart
- Elmus Stockstill
- Jamie Sturgis
- Juliet Thomas
- Candice Tolliver
- Jennifer Tolliver
- Dorothea Van Buren
- Stephen Rene Viña
- Walter Vinson
- Fannie Louise Ware
- Timla Godiva Washington
- Jeanne Patrice Willoughby (Patrice)
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- official Congressional bio, accessed August 15, 2011
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- DSA website: Members of the Progressive Caucus (archived on the Web Archive website)
- Congressional Progressive Caucus website: Caucus Member List
- American Radio Works website: Trips sponsored by the Christopher Reynolds Foundation
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