An Open Letter to the Greater Jackson Community | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

An Open Letter to the Greater Jackson Community

View photos of Anderson vigil here

We, the members of the board of Jackson 2000, extend our hearts and thoughts to the family and friends of James Craig Anderson, and we join the rest of the community in sharing the pain and sadness they must feel, and offer to them our comfort and resources. Indeed, we are concerned for all of those involved and touched by this tragedy.

The mission of Jackson 2000 is to improve race relations and promote racial understanding throughout the greater Jackson area. Our organization, through a variety of methods, encourages people of all colors, ages, ethnicities and gender, to discuss and address racism and its impact on our community.

We are horrified and saddened by the events of June 26, 2011, which led to the death of Mr. Anderson, a 49-year old African American man, in the parking lot of a local motel. While we realize that this incident is still being investigated by the police and the district attorney's office, and that all of the facts are still being gathered, we believe that we must speak out about this heinous crime, which Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith has described as a "crime of hate."

We are united in our belief that this incident shows that the issues of racism and intolerance still have an ugly and corrosive effect on our community. More importantly, we believe that we must identify and examine as a community why these issues remain, and how as a community we are going to address and ultimately overcome them. We believe that it is time for all of us, the average person as well as our civic, political and faith leaders, to publicly acknowledge that these issues still exist.

If we are going to grow and prosper as a community and state, we can no longer pretend that these attitudes and actions are gone, and are just a part of an ugly "past" history. The thinking and attitudes that lead up to this horrible event should be a wake-up call to all of us in Mississippi, and show us that we still have much work to do.

For 30 years, Jackson 2000 has engaged in promoting public events and forums that focus on racial reconciliation and justice, and in organizing discussion groups called "study circles" that put together diverse groups of people to talk about those issues in an honest and constructive way.

We are compelled not only to continue but also to increase these efforts in response to this tragedy. We invite the community to join us at our luncheons at the Mississippi Arts Center, starting at 11:45 a.m. on the second Wednesday of every month.

More information about Jackson 2000 is provided on our website,

We hope that all members of the community will join with us to share their feelings, thoughts, fears and hopes, and that more importantly through honest discussion and dialogue we will come to a deeper understanding of how events like this can be prevented from happening in the future.

The Board of Jackson 2000
· Co-Chair: Lee Unger
· Co-Chair: Todd Stauffer
· Secretary: Dana Larkin
· Treasurer: Christopher Herron

· Martha A. Alexander
· Donna Antoine-LaVigne
· Rosie Brantley
· Pamela Confer
· Dominic DeLeo
· Rebecca Harrell
· B. Anne Lovelady
· Karen Quay
· Marcia Reed
· George Schimmel
· Jackie Warren Tatum
· Marcus Ward
· Deborah Rae Wright

· Emeritus: Cornelius Turner
· Emeritus: Earle F. Jones
· Emeritus: Joann Mickens

Previous Comments


The Magnolia Bar Association just sent a statement on James Craig Anderson murder; verbatim: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 19, 2011 Statement from the Magnolia Bar Association concerning the hate crime committed against James Anderson Jackson, Mississippi August 19, 2011 Carshena L. Bailey, President On behalf of the Magnolia Bar Association, we commend Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith for pursuing the prosecution of the murder of James Anderson as a hate crime and as capital murder. It is our hope that this matter will be fully investigated and that if the evidence supports the allegations that Deryl Demond and/or John Aaron Rice were on the look out for a black man to assault and rejoiced and bragged on the fact that they had just murdered a man, that justice will prevail. The actions of Deryl Demond and John Aaron Rice demonstrate that the NAACP and the Magnolia Bar Association must remain vigilant and continue to demand justice for all Americans. While many have thought that Mississippi has made much progress, incidents such as this one make it clear that we are still a state sweltering in the heat of oppression. Much work remains to be done to ensure that no person is murdered because of his and/or her race. The Magnolia Bar Association calls on all Americans to join us as we stand with District Attorney Robert Smith in his quest for justice for James Anderson. Carshena L. Bailey, Esq.


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