Kathy Sykes

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Kathy Sykes


Kathy Sykes is Lead Organizer at Mississippi Unity Caucus.

State rep.

Kathy Sykes is a Democratic member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, representing District 70. She was first elected to the chamber in 2015.

Sykes was a 2013 candidate for District 28 of the Mississippi State Senate. Special election candidates run without party labels. [1]

Background

Education: Walton Elementary, Powell 5th & 6th Grade Center; Graduate of Lanier High School; BS Degree and MPPA coursework Jackson State University; AFL-CIO Organizer's Institute; Midwest Academy; Highlander Research and Education Center; Real Estate Courses.

Membership: Bonner Institutional AME Church; Subscribing Life Member NAACP Executive Committee; SCLC; MASE/CWA Local 3570; MAFFAN-UAW; Federation of Democratic Women; Working Together Jackson; A. Philip Randolph Institute; Working Together Jackson, Cooperation Jackson, MS Human Services Coalition; Life Member Jackson State University - Hinds Alumn.i

Job Experience: Consultant, MIRA/Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, MS Poultry Workers Center, Strategic Systems, Algebra Project Community Facilitator Lanier High, United Communications, MS State Department of Health, University of MS Medical Center, Jackson State University, VA Medical Center.[2]

2013 CCDS National Coordinating Committee

Kathy Sykes, Mississippi, was elected in 2013 to the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism National Coordinating Committee;[3]

2013 CCDS convention

At the 2013 Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism conference, Kathy Sykes, Lead Field Organizer for the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance and board member of the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan, spoke about her work as a community activist and CWA member in Mississippi in support of the eight-year-long UAW organizing campaign in Canton, MS.

Several issues face the mostly African American workforce in Canton–wages are $2 less an hour than the mostly white Nissan workforce in Tennessee and there are unsafe working conditions at the plant. The UAW is determined to win with an alliance based on fairness, equality and the right to organize a union as a human right guaranteed by the International Declaration of Human Rights.

Sykes talked about the international solidarity of Nissan workers from Japan, South Africa, Brazil, Australia and Russia. “We hope you will join us in our struggle – we need as many organizations as possible around the country to show solidarity,” .[4]

State Senate run

In 2014, Sykes was one 9 primary contenders for the Mississippi State Senate seat left vacant after the death of Alice Harden.

"Kathy Sykes has what her boss, Bill Chandler of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, calls "movement experience." Sykes, MIRA's lead organizer, has worked with the Mississippi Poultry Workers' Center in Morton as a liaison between black and Latino factory workers as well as the Jackson branch of the NAACP.

Sykes, who hopes to continue Sen. Harden's activism--she led a teacher's strike in 1985--opposes anti-immigration efforts, anti-reproductive-rights legislation and charter schools.[5]

Mississippi Moral Mondays

At a 2014 CCDS NCC meeting Sykes reported on the “Moral Movement Mississippi” that held a rally and march in downtown Jackson shortly after she returned from the People’s Climate March in NYC. On October 9th, Sykes reported that the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan, a community labor coalition of which she is a member will host a visit by union leaders from seven countries organized by IndustriaALL Global Union in support of the UAW organizing campaign at Nissan. Sykes spoke of efforts to build a CCDS chapter in Jackson and said there is interest in joining among activists she works with.[6]

2016 CCDS National Coordinating Committee

CCDS website,
Mobilizer, August 2017

Kathy Sykes, Mississippi, was elected in 2016 to the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism National Coordinating Committee;[7]

Flag protest

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.’’

Thompson has pushed to remove items featuring the Confederate flag, including the Mississippi state flag, from the House side of the Capitol.

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.

Chanting “Take it Down, Take it Down," speaker after speaker slammed the flag for what they called its hurtful symbolism.

Michael Eric Dyson, a professor at Georgetown University, called the flag a "byproduct of hate and not heritage."

“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.’’

Kathy Sikes

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.

“Hopefully we can begin a new century with a new flag and say goodbye to the relics of the Confederacy and all that it stands for,’’ she said.[8] |

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries also spoke. Students from colleges such as Tougaloo and Jackson State also made the trip to Washington.

Moss Point native and attorney Carlos Moore said he felt Tuesday's rally was successful.

"It was a great rally," Moore said. "We had congressmen from Mississippi, California, and New York to address the audience, along with music and singing, so overall, it was a great day. We had a boat load of people to travel from Mississippi from cities such as Hattiesburg, Magee, Jackson, and Grenada came to support, so we were pleased in the turnout."[9]

Lumumba connection

June72017.JPG

Kathy Sykes with Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

References