Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba called on the people to join in moving the City forward at his swearing in for a second term on Thursday, July 1, at Jackson Convention Complex. Photo courtesy City of Jackson
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba lists past achievements of his office after Hinds County Chancery Court Judge Denise Owens swore him in for a second term at the Jackson Convention Complex on Thursday, July 1.
"Collectively, we have claimed victories like saving our schools, paving more miles of road in the past four years than the previous 10 years combined, and prevailed in the largest settlement in our city's history," Lumumba said to the officials, city leaders, and the public gathered at the complex.
"We have also weathered more than our fair share of storms, and in the last four years, we have endured a 30-year flood, a violent tornado, three debilitating winter storms, a 100-year pandemic, and like so many cities across the nation, we have witnessed a sharp rise in gun violence."
The mayor harped on the importance of unity, called for investment in people and the expansion of economic opportunities, and emphasized the need for solutions to crimes. "This administration is about igniting the potential that already exists in Jackson and creating a moment where we realize the promise we possess and move towards progress," he said. "We must be unwavering in our commitment to provide a sustainable and equitable infrastructure."
Gov. Tate Reeves delivered a message via video where he congratulated Lumumba on his election and promised to work with him to benefit the people of the capital city.
"I believe that you share my commitment to putting the people first and improving the lives of Jackson's residents, who are both of our constituents; Jackson has the potential to be a magnet for people moving to Mississippi, to live and play downtown, to work and build a life here, and I'm excited,” Reeves said. “We both want to make it the strongest state capital in our nation.”
"I look forward to working with you to increase educational and economic opportunities for Jackson's residents and to improve the city's infrastructure, public safety and healthcare."
Former Jackson Mayor John Ditto, Reena Evers-Everette, daughter of late civil-rights icon Medgar Evers and former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, also gave speeches.
"An aging water and sewer and street infrastructure, rising gun violence, homelessness, many of these challenges, including the lack of funding, are the same ones we faced when I was mayor in the 1990s,” Ditto said. “But let me just say, we can, and we'll solve these problems if we understand that all of us must accept the responsibility and throw away the blame."
Evers-Everette urged a renewed commitment to the city from city officials and the public. "We are here because we elected representatives that we feel will do the best for our city. So we're looking at the mindset of our elected officials, our leaders, but also the mindset of our citizens because our citizens are the ones who make them what is the substance of Jackson," she said.
Epsy said that Lumumba's election indicates the level of trust of the people in him, while also recognizing the unique challenges of the city in aging infrastructure and crime.
"They know that Jackson is the seat of the state government, and they wonder many times whether those who occupy those principal seats in the Capitol realized that this the seat of government and they allocate millions and millions of dollars to other places. But often they ignore, they put aside the justified request of Jackson, the place, where they work, where they live," Epsy said.
Judicial officials also swore in Ashby Foote, Angelique Lee, Kenneth Stokes, Brian C. Grizzell, Vernon Hartley, Aaron Banks, and Virgi Lindsay, representing Wards 1 to 7 on the city council for a four-year term beginning today.
Email story tips to city/county reporter Kayode Crown at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @kayodecrown.