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NAACP Files Race Discrimination Complaint Against State Over Jackson Water Crisis

JACKSON, Miss.—Jackson resident Deidre Long has lived with her blind adult daughter in Jackson, Miss., since 2018, and the water crisis in the capital city has only made caregiving more difficult. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People shared Long’s story in a complaint filed on Wednesday, Sept. 27, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The NAACP and others are asking the EPA to investigate the State of Mississippi for alleged discriminatory practices in its disbursement of federal funds in relation to infrastructure needs of the capital city.

“For years, the State of Mississippi, its agencies, instrumentalities, and officials (collectively “the State”) have discriminated on the basis of race against the City of Jackson, Mississippi (“Jackson”) and its majority-Black population by diverting federal funds awarded to ensure safe drinking water and unpolluted surface waters and groundwater,” the complaint alleges.

The complaint says the water crisis in the capital city has caused Long, who is one of the complainants, “significant financial and personal hardship.”.

“In addition to the difficulties of purchasing expensive water and carrying it upstairs to her condo, the unreliable water also presents difficulties for Ms. Long’s adult daughter, who is blind,” it stated.

“Due to her visual impairment, Ms. Long’s daughter is unable to tell if water is brown or discolored,” it added. “Ms. Long now needs to assist her daughter with tasks that require water, like washing her face or showering. The water issues greatly increase Ms. Long’s caregiving workload, and greatly diminish her daughter’s independence.”

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and others filed the complaint with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 27, 2022, alleging that the State of Mississippi discriminated against the capital city in its disbursement of water-system resources.

The complainants include: NAACP CEO and President Derrick Johnson, former Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr., Jackson Public Schools District Board President Edward Sivak Jr., Jackson Federation Of Teachers President Akemi Stout, NAACP member Charles Jones, Jackson Public Schools Board member Frank Figgers and three other Jackson residents. The filing says each complainant has faced the brunt of the

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