Chokwe Antar Lumumba
- In a "stunning rebuke" to the conservative Democratic Party of Mississippi; to the reactionary Republican Party of Mississippi; to the national right-wing trend; and to the election and policies of Donald Trump; the people of Jackson, MS have risen up and overwhelming selected Chokwe Antar Lumumba the nominee of the Mississippi Democratic Party for Mayor of Jackson, MS. In overwhelmingly Democratic Jackson, the Democratic Party nomination is tantamount to election.
Chokwe Antar Lumumba‘s father was Detroit native, Chokwe Lumumba, who was one of the national leaders of the Republic of New Africa. In the mid 1980’s, Chokwe Lumumba moved his family to Jackson, MS to work on organizing a grassroots movement to root out the remnants of Jim Crow segregation, and to work for the economic and political liberation of the African-American people of the deep south. To assist with this work, Chokwe and other activists founded the New African Peoples Organization and the Malcolm X Grassroots Organization. Chokwe Lumumba subsequently ran for and was elected to the Jackson City Council. Then, in 2013, he mounted a successful campaign for Mayor and was inaugurated Mayor in July, 2013. Chokwe Lumumba died unexpectedly in February, 2014, after only eight months in office; as he was just in the early stages of implementing his "progressive grassroots programs to improve the lives of the citizens of Jackson, MS."
Chokwe Lumumba‘s son, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, agreed to run for Mayor in the special election held in 2014 to fill the Mayoral position vacated by his father’s untimely death. Although he and many supporters ran a hard-fought campaign on short notice, he was narrowly defeated by the a local minister, Tony Yarber.
Tony Yarber is widely considered to have been a disaster as Mayor. His first term expires this year. The Mayoral position was considered wide open, so nine candidates, including Chokwe Antar Lumumba, filed for the Democratic nomination for mayor. The conventional experts and pundits considered Chokwe Antar Lumumba to be the favorite, but repeatedly assumed there would have to be a run-off election between Chokwe Antar Lumumba and one of the other candidates, probably state legislator John Horhn. The latest pre-election polls showed Chokwe Antar Lumumba with around 30%of the vote; Horhn with around 20%; and the rest of the candidates trailing.
Chokwe Antar Lumumba, with his sister and campaign manager Rukia Lumumba, put together a powerful grassroots campaign, with the participation of dozens of Jackson citizens, together with national assistance from organized labor, and progressive organizations, including several members of the National Lawyers Guild. Chokwe Antar pledged to implement many of the most progressive elements of his father’s platform, including the encouragement of cooperative and employee-owned businesses; and a requirement that city contractors hire a certain percentage of Jackson residents.
May, 2, the residents of Jackson went to the polls. They issued a resounding statement that they did not need a run-off election to decide who should be the Democratic Party’s nominee for Mayor. Unofficial returns, with 100% of the precincts reporting, showed Chokwe Antar Lumumba with 55% of the vote. His closest challenger, John Hohrn, attracted only 21% of the vote. The incumbent Mayor, Tony Yarber, received only 5% of the vote. It was anticipated that Chokwe Antar Lumumba will coast into the Mayor’s seat at the general election on June 6, and be inaugurated several weeks after that.
Immigrant rights event
A bus that left New York City during the second week of October 2014mbound for the Texas-Mexico border carried a group of people promoting solidarity for immigrants made a stop in Jackson Mississippi Tuesday, October 14 to meet with local immigration rights groups.
While here, those abroad the Immigrant Refugee Caravan paid tribute to Jackson’s late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, an ally in the fight for human and immigrant rights.
The brightly painted bus with 16 people aboard rolled into Downtown Jackson at about 4 p.m. and gathered with the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA), Cooperation Jackson and other groups at MIRA headquarters on North State Street.
The mission of the caravan was to show solidarity for children caught in the immigration quagmire upon arrival in this country from Mexico and bring awareness to changes in U.S. immigration policies that adversely affect families.
Ana Maria Cardenas, with Pastors for Peace, is the program coordinator for Friendshipment Caravans. The participants held an anti-militarization rally to protest immigrants being held at government way-stations along the border, with children often separated from their parents.
Bill Chandler, MIRA executivem director, said MIRA is concerned about the children. “They aren’tmarriving here without authorization.mThey are refugees from violencemin their country,” he said.
Pablo Blanco, of South Bronx, New York, said the issue with Honduran women and children ismthat they are being brought here by human traffickers after being told they won’t be deported. Blanco said this happens because their land is wanted for resort development.
Later Tuesday evening , the caravan made its way to City Hall for a candlelight remembrance of Chokwe Lumumba, who was a legal counsel for MIRA.
“We have deep gratitude,” Chandler said. “It’s important to remember the leadership of Chokwe Lumumba, who worked furiously for human rights.”
The son, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, reminded us that his father believed in working for the right of all people, regardless of their status - “the very cause that you arrived here for.”
Other participants included Rosa Toledo of New York, Safiya Omari, late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba’s chief of staff, Bryan Eason and participants in the Mississippi Immigration Rights Alliance (MIRA) who express solidarity for reform with Civil Rights veteran Rims Barber, Mississippi College Law student Thomas J. Estopare, and a caravan rider from New York Ashlyn Matthews.
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.
Freedom Road support
- Freedom Road Socialist Organization/Organización Socialista del Camino para la Libertad (FRSO/OSCL) fully supports the campaign to elect Chokwe Antar Lumumba. This campaign’s foundation is based on a participatory style of governance. The people of Jackson have helped design the platform that Lumumba is running on. There are strong, brilliant Black women running his campaign. He has real solutions to problems that Jackson residents have named as their top issues. This is a campaign that has been fueled by grassroots fundraising, volunteering and resource sharing.
- It is important that we pay attention to this campaign across the country. One of the campaign’s slogans has been “when I become mayor, you become mayor”. This is because Chokwe is the face of a movement here in Jackson. The people have been and are continuously being trained and developed in ways to not only help determine what the platform will be, but also how to hold Chokwe accountable to his commitments made during the campaign.
- In 2013, the late Chokwe Lumumba, father of Chokwe Antar Lumumba, wowed the entire country when he became mayor of Jackson. We know that a second people’s victory is challenging because those in power have already seen a glimpse of what a people’s platform looks like in practice. Today, the vision will be restored.
- FRSO/OSCL stands with the oppressed and working people of Jackson and the candidate that they have chosen, Chokwe Antar Lumumba. We’re here today driving folks to the polls, phone banking and poll watching! Dare to struggle! Dare to win!
Lumumba with FRSO comrades
Visit from Bernie
Senator Bernie Sanders visited Chokwe Antar Lumumba in March 2017.
According to journalist Ryan Smith "DSA member Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the 34-year-old who was elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, in June, told attendees at the People's Summit that he wants to make the southern capital "the most radical city on the planet." 
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.
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.
There are people who believe that Trump’s job title means that it would be more disrespectful for him not to attend the museum opening; Lumumba is not one of those people, calling Trump’s presence “ill-considered” in light of his demonstrably racist, anti-Black administration.
“I think that if President Trump is sincere about recognition of civil rights — though one could imagine that being at a museum could demonstrate that — the policies you implement each and every day, your continuing commitment to advancing civil rights, is a greater salute to a sincere effort to support a civil rights movement,” Lumumba said on CNN. “And I think he fails to accomplish that on a consistent basis.”
Launched in August of 2016, the Collective PAC has helped 18 candidates win primary and/or general elections at the local, state and federal level thus far, including U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, U.S. Representatives Val Demings, Lisa Blunt Rochester and Donald McEachin, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba of Jackson, Vi Lyles of Charlotte, Yvette Simpson of Cincinnati and Justin Fairfax for Lt. Governor in Virginia.
- The Mississippi Link Vol. 20, No. 51 October 16 - 22, 2014
- READER Beyond the ‘Bernie bro’: Socialism’s diverse new youth brigade, by Ryan Smith August 23, 2017
- [https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/06/14/mississippians-rally-washington-protest-state-flag/85876780/Clarion Ledger, Mississippians rally in Washington to protest state flag Deborah Barfield Berry, Clarion-Ledger Washington Bureau Published 6:25 p.m. ET June 14, 2016]
- The Root, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba Declines to Share Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Stage with White Supremacist-in-Chief Kirsten West Savali December 9, 2017