Protest at Site of New Jackson Animal Shelter

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Plans for a new animal shelter in north Jackson have drawn protests from some neighborhood residents.

About 20 gathered at the site Thursday to protest the upcoming opening of the shelter by the Animal Rescue Fund, which is moving more than 300 dogs and cats into the facility at an old warehouse.

The animals had been housed in Rankin County, but, WLBT TV reports (http://bit.ly/T60D8S), the Rankin County Board of Supervisors gave the shelter until Nov. 30 to move or build an expensive new building.

Jackson City Councilwoman Larita Cooper-Stokes led the protest.

"You know this dog pound is something that this community does not want," Copper-Stokes said. "I believe that if this was a white community, we wouldn't be having this problem today."

But there was at least one supporter in the area — a neighborhood resident who works for the rescue fund. Johnny Bailey says the shelter is needed in the neighborhood.

"I don't see the problem. We are rescuing animals, there are plenty of dogs running around here," Bailey said.

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Comments

JLucas 1 year, 10 months ago

No surprise to see a Stokes leading another pointless protest. This couple lives on organizing misguided side shows.

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darryl 1 year, 9 months ago

What is unsurprising is Mrs. Stokes injecting race into the issue where, clearly, there is none. While businesses are fleeing Jackson and Ward 3, in particular, one actually comes in? I should think rejoicing would be the theme for the demonstration, not denouncement.

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notmuch 1 year, 9 months ago

Just wait--if the shelter actually opens, and more white poodles than black labs are taken in, you can bet Mrs. Stokes will be protesting with renewed vigor! I'm not sure how she would feel about dalmations...

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darryl 1 year, 9 months ago

notmuch, I guess we would have to assume they would be treated as she treated Ms. Jackson during the Ward 3 elections. gasp, horror, shock, damnation

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donnaladd 1 year, 9 months ago

Gentlemen, I'm not one to come to Councilwoman Stokes' defense very often, but I'm sure you know that poor, often majority non-white communities often either get disparately dumped on with services that white communities don't want or won't have; and they traditionally have gotten worse services than whiter communities. This is just fact, and there's really nothing wrong with her saying that (not that I'm taking a position on the shelter location here; I'm not; don't know enough to). Y'all better be careful: People are going to start thinking y'all are the ones obsessing about race and whining every time someone mentions it.

And the dalmations joke is just stupid. It's clear why you don't have the courage to use your own name on your posts, notmuch. I'd be embarrassed, too. Grow up.

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notmuch 1 year, 9 months ago

Having done the engineering design for the Mississippi Animal Rescue League facility on Greenway Drive (I'm not sure if this is a "white" or "non-white" community; I never really pay any attention to that sort of thing, and as far as I know, both are allowed in the neighborhood), I am aware of the uproar that any such facility creates during planning, design, construction, and operation. This is usually the case regardless of whether the facility involved is a retail outlet, garbage dump, school, chicken plant, animal care facility, etc. I was not taking a position on the shelter location either, just agreeing with the first two comments. However, I have no tolerance for racism, on which I am not hesitant to take a position--and the blatant racism often exhibited by Mrs. (and Mr.) Stokes probably factored into my comment. Yes, the dalmation joke was stupid--which was exactly the point. The color of a dog has about as much relevance as the color of a person's skin should (emphasis on "should") have to their respective worth or treatment in civilized society. I never claimed to be a comedian, which might be why the corny jokes don't embarrass me, but I must admit that I have never been accused of not having courage because of that. When I first commented on this site, I selected a screen name; I did this since that seemed to be what most of the other posters did at the time. While it is mildly entertaining to see your periodic references to the fact that I continued to use this screen name--maybe I am just too lazy to change it--I wonder if you criticize the many others who did the same thing. Just for grins, I clicked on the "latest 100" comments to see if I am the only one who is using a screen name. Unless Pilgrim3, FINAO, goldeneagle97, Freedom69, etbhsb, brjohn9, multiculturegirl, heathen96, Knowledge06, kdg1stlove, bizworldusa, AZhitman, and spakto are actual names, I might not be the only one. Perhaps the fact that you and I tend to disagree on many issues has something to do with it--I don't know. I do recall that in preparing your response to one of my comments, you apparently looked at the information I entered when I first registered on this site and used that to obtain some information about me, which you posted in that response. That information was totally inaccurate (hmm, didn't I just see something about fact-checking on this site today?), but as I mentioned earlier, it was entertaining. Having said all of that, and at the risk of taking away something for you to gripe about (just kidding; I'm sure we can find plenty on which to disagree), my name is Will Irby. I grew up a long time ago.

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darryl 1 year, 9 months ago

Y'all better be careful: People are going to start thinking y'all are the ones obsessing about race and whining every time someone mentions it.

Tee hee! I'm fond of a particular saying: don't start nothing, won't be nothing. Despite its linguistic and grammatical devolvement, it's quite appropriate when the concept of race is uttered. All the time, everywhere and in most situations, there are differences. If a white council member had complained about this, asserting that it should go to a black neighborhood, OMG! The hue and cry would rain down upon that person such that all sort of rational discourse would be lost forever. We need to stop letting these elected persons continue to mouth off in any damned fool way they feel they can.

I stand by my original assertion - a business relocates into Ward 3. That should be cause for celebration. As this animal shelter houses animals from the tri-county area (and possibly beyond), this is the type of centralization of services that I would imagine Jackson would be proud of. Sort of a return of a prodigal son, if you would.

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donnaladd 1 year, 9 months ago

We need to stop letting these elected persons continue to mouth off in any damned fool way they feel they can.

Well, the First Amendment might have something to say about that. ;-)

As I said, I'm not against the animal shelter; don't know enough to think it's a bad thing. And I'm all for helping the animals. But it's a historic and current reality that poorer neighborhoods are typically dumped on. And well-to-do folks speak up all the time about keeping certain things out of their neighborhoods; there is nothing wrong with saying that. The smarter response would be a discussion of the actual business/organization rather than all the juvenile jokes about Ms. Stokes. It makes it hard to take your argument seriously. And it seems more appropriate for one of those trash sites that attract dudes afraid to ever say who they are in public.

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JLucas 1 year, 9 months ago

To me, there is something unseemly about 2 elected officials marching in protest in front of a legal and legitimate (and needed) business that, so far, has complied with the City’s directives that will permit them to begin operating at this facility. Assuming the neighborhood truly objects to the company being there, as an elected official, I expected her to use her position to lobby her council colleagues to oppose the shelter. Has she not brought this up at the council meeting? Does she intend to do so? As far as the racism charge, par for the course.

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bill_jackson 1 year, 9 months ago

I suppose the always eloquent Mrs. Stokes has never heard of the Madison Ark. But then again I would not really expect her to have. I do believe that she and her spouse really love to grandstand.

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donnaladd 1 year, 9 months ago

No doubt, they love to grandstand -- and aren't always right (see the story we're about to post about their continued efforts to push for a youth curfew).

My point is that I haven't seen you guys crowing when elected officials from Ward 1 (or those who tried to win office like Wilson Carroll) did the NIMBY dance in other neighborhoods. My suggestion is that you focus on whether or not they're right on this one, and not try to make it sound "unseemly" because black elected officials are saying they don't want a certain organization or business in their neighborhood. That's a common strategy among elected officials of all ethnicities and well within their rights.

In other words, try to talk substance instead of make everything personal. It'll make more sense and maybe even convince someone rather than offend them.

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bill_jackson 1 year, 9 months ago

BREAKING: LaRita hates puppies. Film at 10.

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scott62 1 year, 9 months ago

Not trying to play the devil's advocate or anything but perhaps people would find Mrs. Stokes argument more effective and sensible if she would make it without injecting "white community" in it. I mean let's be fair, she doesn't go to great lengths to erase the legacy left by her husband when it comes to their feelings about the "white community". The antics of Kenneth Stokes which appear to have been embraced by his wife have done way more to build Madison and Rankin County into what they've become than all the real estate agents in both counties combined. If she wants respect then she should try showing a little when she speaks. There are much more diplomatic ways to get her point across than the way she chose in this instance. Unfortunately she knows that and still chose to voice it in an abrasive way for the sole purpose of endearing her to the black communities she represents.

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kdavis 1 year, 9 months ago

scott62, I'm not defending what Larita Stokes said but I am weary of people who have fled to the suburbs of Madison and Rankin counties putting down Jackson. When I take my morning run across the Meadowbrook Road bridge (and no, I'm not running away from anyone with a gun, just my exercise) all 3 lanes of I 55 are clogged with traffic headed south. There must be something in Jackson that makes everyone get up in the morning and deal with the traffic, possibly a job? I seriously doubt that people choose to live in the suburbs because of Kenneth and Larita Stokes. Madison and Rankin counties thrive because of Jackson, not in spite of Jackson.

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donnaladd 1 year, 9 months ago

Notmuch, you're the one who posted this:

Just wait--if the shelter actually opens, and more white poodles than black labs are taken in, you can bet Mrs. Stokes will be protesting with renewed vigor! I'm not sure how she would feel about dalmations...

The point about the fake names is that the people who obsess about race the most online are inevitably guys who are afraid to attach their names to posts such as that one. I applaud you for revealing your name after being called out for it. As for gleaning something about you from your email address, we can tell who almost everyone who posts here is from your email addresses. If I referred to something your email address indicated, it was because it indicated it. Hopefully, you're not using a fake one. And there was no need to "factcheck" the impression that your email address indicated--being that I didn't reveal who you are.

I figure people who want to have the most serious conversations use their real names. Of those you mention, several of them openly reveal who they are on the site (such as Brian Johnson). And most of them do not come here to troll and belittle.

As for the Stokeses being "racist," that's an incorrect descriptor. They do display a certain bigotry toward white people, no doubt. (He wrote a long attack column in the Jackson Advocate toward me, showing all sorts of bigotry, because I dared call him out.) But that doesn't mean that bigotry is the same thing as racism. The Stokeses are not part of a majority culture that has the power to systemically discriminate against white people -- nor do they really seem to try.

Watering down the meaning of "racism" to apply to every bigoted word or act is one of the huge problems we have in our nation today when it comes to racial healing. Many do it on purpose; many others don't know any better, and want to believe it's all the same thing. I'm assume you're among the latter, based on your earlier flippant comments.

It's important to understand that the very act of drawing a distinction between things that happen in their neighborhood and a "white" one is not racism; it is simply free speech that you might find offensive. The fact is that many things are not accepted in "white(r)" communities that poor communities of color have to put up with. We could start, say, with a discussion of dangerous railroad tracks if we wanted to have a serious conversation about it. There is nothing wrong with talking about how things are done differently in different communities based on who lives there, their race, their economic situation and their clout. It may be convenient for you to say you don't notice those things -- but that also means that you are choosing not to notice the problems associated with disparities, and that means our communities will never be equal enough not to have the conversations. In other words, we must talk about it until we don't have to any longer, and we sure aren't there, yet.

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notmuch 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes, I am the one who posted the comment--I'm not sure if there was a point you were trying to make here, because it looks like something might have been left out. Again, all I was saying that Mrs. Stokes' basing her disagreement with the proposed shelter location on race would make about as much sense as complaining about the varieties of breeds accepted there.

It's your newspaper, and you are certainly free to declare that the reason I used a screen name (like the others mentioned) is "inevitably" that I am "afraid", and to claim that you "called me out" for it--hey, if name-calling and belittlement makes you feel righteous and powerful, it doesn't really bother me--but it doesn't remotely resemble responsible journalism. Obviously, that is of no importance to you, judging from your comment "there was no need to "factcheck" the impression that your email address indicated--being that I didn't reveal who you are". Seriously? Any comment I submit is summarily dismissed as non-factual if I mention anything with which you disagree unless I include a name to go with it, but it's okay for you to publish false information about my company because you don't include a name?

I'm not a computer geek; in fact, I am admittedly often challenged by things that my grandkids easily accomplish. I don't even know if I could figure out how to change my screen name, so feel free to do that for me if you choose to allow me to continue to comment. Yes, I am aware that several of your regular commenters use their real names. I have no idea who Brian Johnson is, or what relevance he has to this discussion--sorry, you lost me again there.

Okay, so you want to get into semantics about racism vs. bigotry. Here are a couple of definitions: bigotry--stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own. racism--hatred or intolerance of another race or other races. It is my opinion that the definition of racism more accurately fits the attitudes and actions of Mr. and Mrs. Stokes. When prejudice, discrimination, intolerance, etc. is based strictly on race, I call that racism. The first definition seems to fit the opinions of the JFP. By the way, as long as we are talking about semantics, I think the word you are looking for is "systematically", not "systemically", which doesn't make sense in the context used.

Yes, I absolutely agree there is a disparity among communities regarding how things are done--I never said I don't notice those things, and anyone who says he doesn't notice is either lying or really isn't looking. Again, I threw out a little critical humor because although I am often offended and saddened by the antics of Mrs. Stokes, she is entertaining.

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donnaladd 1 year, 9 months ago

My point isn't that this facility is a problem; I don't know enough to say that, and I'm not. My whole point is that y'all's flippant comments that they should not use the phrase "white community" is misplaced. You would sound less race-obsessed if you would focus on whether or not the facility is good for their community -- especially since it sounds like you know something about it. In other words, offer something useful instead of mildly offensive race jokes about dalmatians and such. Ew.

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notmuch 1 year, 9 months ago

Okay--point taken; no more humor for me, and I sincerely apologize if my doggy diatribe was interpreted to be a race joke, rather than its intent, which was to ridicule racism. Happy Thanksgiving!

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JLucas 1 year, 9 months ago

I used to get embarrassed and upset by the Stokes’ antics because I felt that they were/are an embarrassment to our community, but over time I’ve learned to ignore most of their diatribes. Clearly they are the kind of folks that their constituents want to represent them, as seen in the last election. That does not, however, place them above criticism.

On this issue though, having seen the site myself, being familiar with zoning and setbacks and such, I really don’t understand why the some in the community are in such an uproar. I think that the ARF has done as good of a job as they could in finding an existing facility that resides within an industry cluster, and not directly within a residential neighborhood. I’m not arguing that the community doesn’t have a right to protest, that would be a silly interpretation of my argument. I just think that the Stokes’s are using this as yet another platform to grandstand and demagogue without due consideration of how this facility might actually not be as much of a nuisance as it might seem, so I do find their actions UNSEEMLY and I stand by that assessment.

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