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1 0 N O . 11
contents KRISTIN BRENEMEN
6 Blank Check? Hinds County supervisors are uncertain how much a Clinton-to-Byram connector road will cost. MAMIE TILL BRADLEY
Cover design by Kristin Brenemen
THIS ISSUE: Cycle of Hate
What exactly is a hate crime, and why should it matter when prosecuting crimes? H.C. PORTER AND GRETCHEN HAIEN
lorenda cheeks style program including a multipurpose field and community garden. The Junior League of Jackson also awarded six Oak Forest teachers, the most of any school, grant money amounting to $17,000 to promote literacy and technology. Cheeks is also heavily involved in her community. Starting out as a Girl Scout Brownie herself, Cheeks now leads five Scout troops. They have recently achieved recognition on a national scale, particularly through their project “It’s Hip to Be Fit.” Last year, Cheeks and her Scouts traveled to Atlanta where Cheeks won the 1st Grand Champion Award from the General Mills “Feeding Dreams” program. Communities vote for the winners, making it especially meaningful. In her free time, Cheeks is active in her church at Mount Nebo Baptist Church in west Jackson, decorating cakes (butter cream and pound cakes, especially), playing tennis, traveling and catching up on sleep. “I try to live by example. I want to teach the children who come to Oak Forest how to be a good citizen, how to give back to your community,” Cheeks says. “It’s going to take a cycle of me teaching a child who picks up that lesson to teach their children.” Cheeks urges parents and community members to contact principals and request to teach a craft, tutor children or get involved in any way. —Hannah Vick
26 On The Floor H.C. Porter and Gretchen Haien continue their work documenting Hurricane Katrina’s devastation.
42 Fur and Feathers Azul Denim creates stylish looks by combining the hottest fashion trends with classic denim.
As the local mailman could attest, Lorenda Cheeks has taught kids since she was a little girl herself, setting up school in the front lawn with her neighborhood friends. Cheeks, 39, grew up in north Jackson and attended Lanier High School and Tougaloo College. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, she obtained a master’s specialist degree from Mississippi College in school administration supervision and is now writing her doctoral dissertation in education leadership for Delta State University. Cheeks still lives in north Jackson, but being a student is only one segment of her life. After spending five years as an elementary school teacher, Cheeks is now the principal of Oak Forest Elementary School. She was inspired to pursue educational administration by her former boss, Gerilynn Thomas of New Hope Christian School in Jackson. “I would love to change the image of how (educators) are perceived by the community. There are some great things going on in Jackson Public Schools,” Cheeks says. As a demonstration of those great things, Oak Forest Elementary teachers and administrators have been accumulating grants nationally and locally. Last April, the state Department of Health, in conjunction with Leadership Greater Jackson, awarded Oak Forest $3,750 to build a soccer program. The school is integrating a community-based healthy life-
4 ............. Editor’s Note 4 ................... Slowpoke 6 .......................... Talks 12 ................... Editorial 12 .................... Stiggers 13 .................. Opinion 24 ................... Hitched 26 ............... Diversions 28 ....................... Books 29 ..Best of Jackson Ballot 30 ..................... 8 Days 31 .............. JFP Events 32 ........................ Music 33 .......... Music Listing 35 ................. Astrology 36 ...................... Sports 38 ........................ Food 40 .............. Gift Guide 42 ......... Fly Shopping
Valerie Wells Valerie Wells is assistant editor of the JFP and BOOM Jackson. She covers the media in Mississippi to figure out who controls the news. Email ideas to Valerie@ jacksonfreepress.com. She wrote the cover story and a media column.
Elizabeth Waibel Reporter Elizabeth Waibel grew up in Clinton. In May, she received her journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tenn. She likes coffee and trying new cake recipes. She contributed to the cover story and wrote Talks.
Sharon Dunten Sharon Dunten came to Mississippi as journalist to cover Hurricane Katrina. She visits Mississippi often to write and photograph its culture, which captured her heart. She is an active member of the Society of Professional Journalists. She wrote an arts feature.
Brandon Pruett Brandon Pruett is often confused for Steve Buscemi and the late Steve Irwin. His greatest accomplishment was coming in third on Nick’s Global Guts under the nickname “Baby D.” He also has excellent posture. He wrote a music feature.
Ayana Taylor Kinnel Ayana Taylor Kinnel is a graduate of Tougaloo College and Belhaven University. She teaches English at Antonelli College. She wrote Hitched for this issue.
LaShanda Phillips Editorial Assistant LaShanda Phillips is a recent graduate of Jackson State University. She is the third oldest of seven children. Her motto is: “Make-up is fantastic!” She compiles and wrote the FLY gift guide.
Andrew Ousley Laurel native Andrew Ousley lived in Scotland and Wyoming before moving to Jackson. Andrew frequently watches Modern Marvels alone on Friday nights. He misses the days when you could win free Cokes under the cap. He wrote a food feature.
November 23 - 29, 2011
Megan Stewart, the JFP’s web developer, works best by being unpredictable and catching everyone off guard. She graduated from Ole Miss with a bachelor’s degree in computer science last fall. She now lives in Jackson.
by Donna Ladd, Editor-in-Chief
What the Mamas Taught Us
hen I heard 40 days before Election Day that the “No on 26” folks were trying to hire a spokesperson, I just knew women didn’t have a chance. Thankfully, I was wrong. What we all watched happen to turn back the cocky Personhood folks—many of them men and women too old to have children—was nothing short of amazing. And I don’t mean because a progressive stance won an election handily in this state—that, too, of course—but because a diverse group of people rejected the right-left political standoff and spoke out for the best interests of our people. It was a revolution of the informed middle. We live in a state, and a country, where this just doesn’t happen very often. Our corporate-financed two-party system doesn’t let “the other” get through, even when it’s the most evidence- and fact-based position. And bolstered by media corporations that don’t want to rock their own corporate boats, the truth gets lost in fake objectivity that divides every story in half, often “balancing” actual facts with lies. The worst part is when folks who are supposed to be on the side of “the people” hide in the corner rather than speak out against something considered controversial in Mississippi. Or when so-called progressive leaders are so afraid of being called names (I’m used to that myself) or losing state funding that they won’t dare go to the wall on behalf of our citizens. The Mississippi Democratic Party, of course, is Exhibit A in this hall of shame. Nearly every Democratic candidate—what there were of them—decided that they had to come out for Personhood in order to get votes. This even included Johnny DuPree who has a grandson due to in vitro. Put another way, very few people believed Personhood could be stopped. It kind of tickles me now to hear the Republican meme that it was Planned Parenthood that stopped Personhood. I call B.S. on that notion; we were lucky if we could get anyone from Planned Parenthood or any official No-on-26-er to freakin’ call us back for our stories. Local doctors and what we are lovingly calling the “grassroots mamas” were the ones with the courage. And, apparently, the belief that they could bridge differences to stop this assault on our citizens’ rights to make their own health decisions. (Look at the “Healthy Mississippians” signs against Personhood. You can barely find the word “No” on there, it’s so small.) I fully believe that, without the grassroots efforts, the national groups that conservative politicians love to hate would have continued to treat Mississippi as “flyover” country—a place they might as well just forfeit because there was no way we could organize and defeat anything that would outlaw abortion. From our front-row seat, what we saw from the grassroots movement gave us guarded hope. My prayer now is that enough Mississippians saw what can happen when people come together and use social media and word-ofmouth to spread real information that unlocks
the dumb right-left political standoff and gets to the grit of what these efforts mean to everyday people. In (one of) the nation’s sickest and poorest states, I want to see this happen with other issues, such as health care, job efforts, education funding, quality sex education and birth control, and tax cuts, to name a few. These are all issues that have been co-opted by “leaders” bought by corporate dollars willing to engage in dishonest race-baiting (such as “welfare mother” scares) to make many voters think they’re being screwed when they are actually being helped. But let’s face it: Those corporate dollars aren’t going away anytime soon, nor are the candidates they bankroll. It is up to individual people—the grassroots—to really think these issues through, and demand factual information, much as the majority of Mississippians did with Personhood. Let’s take one of so many examples: How many people actually know what health reform (branded “Obamacare” by corporate politicians) does? How many good-hearted middle-class people are willing to ignore the yelps long enough to figure out just how it would really affect small businesses (such as mine)? How many are interested in how many more jobs can be created by companies that aren’t constantly strapped by people out due to health concerns? How many want to know how health reform can save us costs because taxpayers end up paying in the long run for poor medical care for fellow Americans? Same with tax cuts: How many people are willing to consider a viewpoint not parroted by cable TV hosts and bloggers they believe they already agree with? Or, to get even more local, how many of you are willing to consider the negative effects—on crime—of media and community obsession with crime? Are you
willing to seek out and consider evidencebased solutions that politicians just ignore? Most of you—especially in Jackson, bless y’all’s hearts—did just that on the Personhood Initiative. Perhaps you did it because you’re a parent and know the difference between a campaign to save a zygote and the need to protect the future of your daughter who was date-raped by the big man on campus. But we can all apply this level of thought and evidence standard to every issue before us, if we will. Just imagine the possibilities. I also urge you to grow a couple, as the grassroots mamas might put it, and be willing to speak up and stop being so afraid of what some radical-right wingnut, whether from Tupelo or Colorado, might think. We-the-people allow jerks to control the dialogue in this state; just because Phil Bryant says you’re Satan for voting against Personhood doesn’t mean it’s true. Speak out and question, using your name and armed with facts. Don’t be mean-spirited and fall into the All-________s-suck trap when you’re speaking out. Not all Dems or Republicans or anyone else suck—many are too busy, or scared, to find good data and speak out about it. Think about it this way: A major reason our state is known as a bastion of race hatred is not because we had fools running the asylum. It’s because too many of the rest of our people didn’t speak up or do anything about it, and kept electing them based on bad information. We can lead, not roll over and play dead, no matter what anyone says. All those mamas who defeated Personhood proved that. Let’s start with unwanted pregnancy. What are you going to do today to prevent it? Tell me at www.jfp.ms or tweet your ideas to me @donnerkay on Twitter.
news, culture & irreverence
More than 1 percent of babies born in the United States are the product of artificial reproductive technologies, including in-vitro fertilization, or 60,190 infants in 2009. SOURCE: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
Hinds Wants Blank Check
by R.L. Nave
Wednesday, Nov. 16 Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood announces he won a request to have his case against Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which disperses money BP set aside after the 2010 oil disaster, heard in a state court. â€Ś A new judge is appointed to hear the child sex-abuse case against former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky in December.
James Andersonâ€™s murder is one of several hate crimes reported in Mississippi. p 10
Thursday, Nov. 17 Gov. Haley Barbour declares Toyota Arbor Day, celebrating the opening of Toyotaâ€™s Blue Springs plant and the companyâ€™s environmental commitment. â€Ś Authorities charge Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez with attempting to assassinate President Barack Obama; he allegedly fired shots at the White House last week. Friday. Nov. 18 The Mississippi ACLU sues Long Beach, Miss., its police department, and police officers Shawn Johnson and Melissa Peterson on behalf of Sandra Howard, challenging her 2010 arrest for peacefully protesting the BP oil spill. â€Ś Detroit will lay off 1,000 people, about 9 percent of its work force, by the end of February. Saturday, Nov. 19 Jackson State University defeats Alcorn State University 51-7 in the annual Capital City Classic football game. â€Ś Six Republican presidential candidates talked turkey in the Thanksgiving Family Forum in West Des Moines, Iowa, sponsored by the group Family Leader. Sunday, Nov. 20 Jackson police detective Natyyo Gray is charged with capital murder after the death of 1-year-old Aubrey Brown. Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart says the baby died from internal bleeding caused by severe blunt force trauma.
November 23 - 29, 2011
Monday, Nov. 21 Hinds County supervisors vote to ask Mississippi to authorize selling bonds to support the Byram-Clinton Corridor project. â€Ś The congressional â€œsupercommittteeâ€? admits it failed to reach a compromise solution to the nationâ€™s debt crises.
Tuesday, Nov. 22 Members of the city planning committee vote to allow Occupy Jackson participants to protest in Smith Park from dawn to 11 p.m. â€Ś Scientists discover the first orchid to bloom at night, the bulbophyllum nocturnum from Papua New Guinea. Get news updates at jfpdaily.com.
The Byram-Clinton corridor proposes to ease congestion and promote development.The 18-mile thoroughfare would consist of a multi-lane road, sidewalks and bike paths.
o get the ball rolling on construction of a proposed roadway, the Hinds County Board of Supervisors will ask the Legislature for financial support. This week, during a meeting at the Hinds County courthouse in Raymond, the supervisors voted down a resolution from District 3 Supervisor Peggy Calhoun to ask state lawmakers for $50 million to initiate construction of the project. When the resolution failed, Calhoun amended her request to seek funding with the amount requested left blank; the board approved that measure. Calhoun said the project is needed to relieve traffic congestion and create jobs. â€œWe need all the economic-development projects we can get,â€? she told the Jackson Free Press, adding that sales and property tax bases in Hinds County and municipalities like Jackson have dwindled as a result of â€œpeople flightâ€? to Rankin and Madison Counties. â€œWe can not sit here and watch the tax base erode.â€? According to plans, the 18-mile corridor would consist of a multi-lane road, sidewalks and bike paths between Byram at Interstate 55 South extending northwest to the Norrell Road Interchange at Interstate 20 in Clinton. In March 2011, supervisors commissioned Jackson-based engineering firm NeelSchaffer Inc. to provide cost estimates and study alternatives. According to the study, the routeâ€™s total cost is $96.9 million. Roughly HINDS, see page 7
â€œIf somebody wants to occupy Jackson, they need to do it at a time and place dictated by the administration.â€? â€”Ward 1 Jackson City Councilman Quentin Whitwell speaking in opposition to Occupy Jacksonâ€™s request for a permit that would allow them to stay in a park overnight.
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news, culture & irreverence
HINDS, from page 6
$50 million of that sum could be used to begin construction of the north and south ends of the corridor between East Sam Herring Road and I-20 on the north and Park and Davis roads on the south, Calhoun said. District 1 Supervisor Robert Graham said he supports the project but has questions. “I haven’t gotten one single piece of paper from anyone saying how much we need and how we’re going to spend it,” Graham said Nov. 21. “I don’t know if we’re going to need $50 million, $100 million or $10 million. I don’t know what that magic number is.” Calhoun said that if the public perceives the board to be “stalling” with the development project, it could lose support from citizens as well as the state Legislature. “If we’re going to ask the Legislature to
assist us, we need to move forward now,” she said. “Not approving the project would send a message that the board is not serious about economic development and creating jobs.” Graham disagreed that the supervisors were stalling. “I think we’re just trying to make the best decision we possibly can. If we’re going to spend $50 million, I want to make sure we know what we’re doing,” he said. He said he’d spoken with Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. City spokesman Chris Mims said that the mayor was concerned that the project would bypass Jackson, offering the city no business-development opportunities and might detract some from South Jackson. Calhoun said that although Jackson’s cooperation is welcome, the county “doesn’t need the approval of any other governmental entity to construct the corridor.” Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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Occupy Jackson Permit Under Scrutiny by Elizabeth Waibel
or made noise. They also worried about setting a precedent for future groups who might want to camp in the park overnight, and who might be much more of a nuisance than the Occupy protesters. Lumumba compared Occupy Jackson to civil-rights leaders such as Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King Jr. “We need to be
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Occupy Jackson protesters stacked signs and belongings after being told to vacate.
real careful who we’re aligned with in history,” he said. Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell does not vote on the Planning Committee, but he voiced his opposition. He said some of the protesters were nice, but the council would be responsible if something went wrong. “I don’t think there is any human being sitting here right now that’s going to do something that could come to haunt us,” he said. “But there are other people out there that would like to hijack your movement … and it could put you in a bad situation.” In a council meeting Nov. 21, City Attorney Pieter Teeuwissen said allowing protesters to stay overnight for two months sets a precedent. He said if the city grants a permit for overnight occupation and the Ku Klux Klan, for example, asked for similar accommodations later on, the city would be forced to give them a permit. Occupy Jackson has been in Smith Park since October. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
n the sidewalk outside Smith Park, too-small tarps covered waterlogged books, papers and canisters of food caught in Tuesday’s heavy rain. A few plastic signs escaped the downpour to proclaim slogans such as “occupy America to save America” and “free hug giveaway, all day, every day.” Inside City Hall a few blocks away, the signs’ owners assembled to try to persuade the City Council Planning Committee to allow them to stay in the park day and night for another month. The Planning Committee voted Tuesday to allow Occupy Jackson to stay in the park from dawn until 11 p.m. through Dec. 26. The measure must go before the full council for a vote, most likely at the Nov. 29 meeting, before it goes into effect. Ward 2 Councilman Chokwe Lumumba left the meeting when his motion to allow the protesters to stay overnight failed. The other members of the committee passed a measure to grant the protesters a permit to allow them to stay in the park after it closes at dusk, with Ward 4 Councilman Frank Bluntson and Ward 5 Councilman Charles Tillman voting in favor of the measure and Ward 6 Councilman Tony Yarber voting against it. Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes is vice chairman of the Planning Committee but was not at the meeting. The city’s special events coordinator gave Occupy Jackson, which recently incorporated as a nonprofit organization, a permit to use the park from dawn to dusk, when it is normally open. Occupy Jackson appealed the decision to the City Council, however, arguing that staying in a particular location day and night is integral to the Occupy protest movement’s message. Some local property owners and downtown residents also spoke during the Planning Committee meeting, saying the protesters came into buildings and used their restrooms without permission,
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November 23 - 29, 2011
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real intent is to make sure the mythological Black Friday is as frenzied as the corporate world dreams it should be. Often touted as the largest shopping day of the year, the day after Thanksgiving is when big-box stores such as Walmart, Target and Best Buy have sales so enticing, shoppers will show up early no matter how cold it is to fight over a ridiculously low-priced TV set. And if consumers are pushed hard to LACEY MCLAUGHLIN
orporate America wants to cash in this holiday season with a highly visible campaign to support small businesses. Gannett Co. Inc., owner of The Clarion-Ledger, joined this effort with full force. If this reminds you of Gannettâ€™s â€œShopLocalâ€? pretensions, you are not the only one. Here in Jackson, The Clarion-Ledger uses this trademarked phrase to push chain stores, many based out of state with owners far, far away. Itâ€™s as if Gannett went through the trouble of trademarking common language without understanding what it really means. American Express is a founding partner in Small Business Saturday, and its promotion is dominant on The Clarion-Ledger website. â€œShopping Main Street; Discover Small Businesses on November 26â€? is a linked page with a map of a dozen participating businesses. â€œJust like buying locally grown produce helps local farmers, buying from your local retailer can directly help your townâ€™s economy and local charities,â€? Jayne Oâ€™Donnell of USA Today says in a video clip posted on the site. But then she also warns shoppers of the dangers of shopping locally in another video: â€œWhile smaller retailers do try to be competitive, it can be impossible to match the prices the big national chains charge.â€? She adds that it is harder to make exchanges at small stores. Gannett even started a Jackson Shopping Main Street page on Facebook. The first post is from Oct. 27. The fonts and some other graphic elements mimic the Obama presidential campaign material. An image of street signs is the main art, but the connection to The Clarion-Ledger is not clear. Besides links to a couple of stories, no mention is made of Gannett or The Clarion-Ledger, although all the links on the Twitter feed refer back to The Clarion-Ledger. While distancing its brand from the Jackson Shopping Main Street promotion, Gannett seems to be hiding, almost pretending that the promotion is a small and locally owned initiative. Itâ€™s enough to make you wonder if the
by Valerie Wells
Are corporate calls for â€œShopping Main Streetâ€? disingenuous?
spend money, time and energy on Black Friday, they might need to recuperate on Shopping Main Street Saturday. Television stations are reporting the Black Friday sales during news segments. The story â€œBlack Friday Brings Jobs to the Metroâ€? airing this week on WJTV, the CBS affiliate station in Jackson, begins with a rundown of what time sales would start at Walmart, Kohlâ€™s and Target. â€œPre-Black Friday sales are already going on at Target and some other area stores,â€? the anchor reported. â€œThe real sales, of course, begin on Thanksgiving at midnight.â€? Some Americans wonâ€™t shop at all this Friday as they observe Buy Nothing Day. Itâ€™s the 20th year that Adbusters magazine is promoting this anti-consumerism campaign. The simple suggestion is that instead of shopping
with a maddening crowd for token things you may not really need, stay home and relax, reflect and reconsider your Christmas gift list. Perhaps, after a day of not even buying gas for the car or a candy bar from a vending machine, shoppers might wake up refreshed on Saturday and buy things from neighbors who own small businesses. Adbusters also gets the credit for Occupy Wall Street, a real-world meme that resonates with frustrated folks in many cities, including Jackson. Those impatient with the Occupiers are using their First Amendment rights to protest about the protesters. â€œIn Mississippiâ€”Smith Park in downtown Jackson, in particularâ€”there is little sense of urgency or sense of purpose,â€? Ross Reily wrote Nov. 17 in the Dolan Co.-owned Mississippi Business Journal. Dolan (NYSE: DM), based in Minneapolis, owns media outlets in 19 cities in the United States. The headline on Reilyâ€™s Editorâ€™s Notebook entry reads â€œFAT, LAZY AND STUPID: Mississippiâ€™s 99 percenters just sit, smoke and squander opportunities.â€? The tags on the online post include: economic development, racism, social issues, socialism and stupidity. Yes, the MBJ really tagged it with â€œstupidity.â€? Reilyâ€™s irritation with Smith Park occupiers stems from what he perceives as a lack of zeal and vigor for a cause. This isnâ€™t that different from observations the JFP editorial board made last month. We agreed the general vagueness of the movement needed to focus on specific causes and propose solutions. But we wouldnâ€™t label the protesters as stupid and lazy. Or fat. As local media outlets cover the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, expect to see pictures of consumers occupying sidewalks and parking lots before stores open. Cameramen will watch like hunters in deer season for building tension and potential riots. It is unlikely, however, that a police officer will casually and calmly paint the shoppers with pepper spray or that the media will call the crowd ugly names. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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Since voters approved an initiative to require photo identification to vote, community groups are already talking about strategies to get IDs for people who need them.
ith her hand pressed to the side of her face in a sign of frustrated concentration, Valencia Robinson, founder and executive director of Mississippi in Action, sat at a table in the front of the room and riffled through brochures and printouts from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Department of Public Safety and the Secretary of State’s office. She was trying to sort out the requirements of the voter identification initiative that passed last week. It won’t be easy; most of the requirements of the new voter ID amendment are still up in the air, waiting for various federal and state attorneys and politicians to work out the details. Robinson and about five other people met last week to start an effort called Operation ID to make sure people who do not currently have government-issued photo identification can vote in the next election. They have their work cut out for them. Their goal is to educate people about how to get an ID in the Jackson area as well as in the Delta and other areas of the state.
They also want to help register people to vote and tell people about the importance of voting in general. Although the initiative provides funding for free voter IDs, it does not specify how people will be able to get them. The U.S. Department of Justice must also approve any changes to voting laws in Mississippi before they can go into effect. In some other states, voter ID laws have also faced legal challenges. Operation ID supporters say they can’t afford to wait for the legal system to work things out with the 2012 presidential elections looming. “I’m trying to make sure people don’t miss the opportunity,” Robinson said. “If people have to pay for it (now), they have to pay for it. … I don’t want to wait till July.” Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, who proposed the initiative, said whether people will need IDs to vote in the primary elections in March is up to the DOJ now. “‘No one knows’ is the honest answer to that, because it really depends on how quickly or slowly the Justice Department reviews our application,” he said.
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Although the initiative technically goes into effect 30 days after the secretary of state’s office certifies the election results, which should be sometime next week, the state must apply for preclearance from the DOJ before it can make any changes to election procedures. The department then has up to 60 days to review the application before approving or disapproving it. The DOJ can ask for more information and take an additional 60 days to consider the application. Fillingane said it’s likely the state will have an answer from the DOJ before the 2012 legislative session begins in January, although two other states are ahead of Mississippi, waiting for approval on their voter ID laws. At that time, the secretary of state’s office can decide whether the provisions of the amendment can be implemented by regulations through the circuit clerks’ offices. Fillingane said he thinks the Legislature will likely have to pass some legislation to work out the details of the amendment, such as how to distribute free IDs. Even when free IDs are available, people will have to be nudged to go and get them said Ruby Gray, who was at the Operation ID meeting. No one is quite sure how the Legislature will interpret the initiative, and Robinson said she doesn’t want people to get frustrated with figuring out the requirements for getting a free ID and give up. “We want to be proactive instead of reactive,” Robinson said. People will also need to know that the initiative allows people without ID to cast an affidavit ballot, but they must bring identification to the circuit clerk’s office within five days for their vote to be counted. “There’s going to be a lot of ballots cast and a lot of ballots thrown out,” Gray said. Operation ID is planning community events to register voters and tell them about the upcoming ID requirements and will announce its plans soon. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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What’s Next for Voter ID?
By R.L. Nave
MAMIE TILL BRADLEY; COURTESY ANDERSON FAMILY
The Cycle of Hate
Emmett Till, left, and James Craig Anderson were murdered in Mississippi 56 years apart. Till’s murder, along with many others during the civil-rights era, may never be solved. Anderson’s accused murderer will stand trial in 2012.
ust when we think we’ve moved beyond Emmett Till, history gives us James Craig Anderson. Till, who was black, was murdered in 1955 at age 14 for whistling at a white woman. Fifty-six years later, Anderson, also African American, died after being run over by a pickup truck. The driver of the vehicle, who is white, has been in charged with committing a hate crime in connection with Anderson’s death. The Department of Justice closed Till’s famous case in 2007; Anderson’s accused killer will stand trial in 2012. While the trail leading to civil-rights era murderers gets colder by the year, FBI data show that crimes fueled by hate remain redhot. Nationally, the overall number of hate crimes reported fell to 6,628 in 2010 from
7,783 a year earlier, a decrease of 15 percent. For Mississippi, the report contains a mix of good news and bad. The number of hate crimes reported in the Magnolia State places us in the bottom tier for lowest number of hate crimes overall. With 11 in 2010, Mississippi rounds out the bottom five along with Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska and Louisiana for fewest reported incidents. California leads among the states with 1,092 reported hate crimes followed by New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Michigan. Mississippi did not mirror the national downturn, however; in the Magnolia State, the numbers of hate crimes quintupled, going from two in 2009 to 11 last year. The report does not indicate what caused the increase in Mississippi.
Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, warned against reading too much into the numbers, even the five-fold jump in Mississippi. The real numbers of hate crimes are “grossly underreported,” he said. “In many jurisdictions around the country, the reporting system is voluntary,” Potok said. “State officials report zeroes when what is really happening is the actual law enforcement agencies are not reporting at all.” In the 19 years that the FBI has conducted its hate crimes survey, the average yearly number has fluctuated between 6,000 and 10,000 crimes per year, but Potok said the real number is 20 to 30 times higher— closer to 200,000 per year—than those the FBI reports. A number of factors may skew numbers downward, including states not having hatecrimes statutes on the books, poor training of law enforcement officials, miscategorizing hate crimes and lack of local enforcement, Potok added. “When you see ideological opposition to hate crimes, what you hear is that it’s a thought crime. That we should prosecute all murders the same,” Potok said. “That’s a remarkable misunderstanding—motive matters in the prosecution of many crimes.” Motive will certainly come into sharp focus when Deryl Dedmon, the Rankin County man accused of murdering James Anderson, goes to trial next year. A grand jury indicted Dedmon, who was 18 at the time he allegedly committed the crime, of capital murder. The grand jury also charged Dedmon with committing the crime for discriminatory purposes; in other words, a hate crime.
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith will prosecute the case against Dedmon. He told CNN earlier this year that Dedmon’s hatred of African Americans compelled him to murder Anderson. Legal experts agree that hate crimes are difficult to prove, and that many people don’t understand hate-crime laws where they exist. In Mississippi and most other states, hate crimes are those that are already on the books but provide for enhanced sentencing when they are motivated by a person’s bias against a certain race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or disability; they are not a freestanding class of crimes. Proving hate crimes can be difficult, as a defense attorney only has to show a jury that his client’s motive could have been something other than bias. “The prosecution has the burden of proof,” Mississippi College law professor Patricia Bennett said. “The defendant doesn’t have to do anything,” Still, justice for Anderson is more likely today than if his murder occurred 60 years ago. Murder investigations occurring in the 1950s and 1960s are drawing to a close, the Associated Press reported recently. Under the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, which Congress passed in 2007, and an ongoing U.S. Justice Department’s cold-case initiative, the FBI isolated 111 incidents involving 124 deaths to determine if victims were targets of racially motivated crimes and whether any suspects are still alive. Of the cold cases under Justice Department review, 23 occurred in Mississippi and remain open, according to a DOJ report submitted to Congress in 2010. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
FBI Hate Crime Statistics, 2010 Total hate crimes: 6,628
n analysis of the 6,624 single-bias incidents reported in 2010 revealed that: • 47.3 percent were racially motivated • 20.0 percent were motivated by religious bias • 19.3 percent resulted from sexual-orientation bias • 12.8 percent stemmed from ethnicity/national origin bias • 0.6 percent were prompted by disability bias
November 23 - 29, 2011
There were 46 reported hate crime offenses committed based on disability bias. Of these: • 24 offenses were classified as antimental disability • 22 offenses were reported as anti-physical disability
Racial Bias In 2010, law enforcement agencies reported 3,725
single-bias hate crime offenses were racially motivated. Of the offenses: • 69.8 percent were motivated by anti-black bias • 18.2 percent stemmed from anti-white bias • 5.7 percent were a result of bias against groups of individuals consisting of more than one race (anti-multiple races, group) • 5.1 percent resulted from anti-Asian/Pacific Islander bias • 1.2 percent were motivated by anti-American Indian/Alaskan Native bias
Religious Bias Hate crimes motivated by religious bias accounted for 1,409 offenses reported by law enforcement. A breakdown of the bias motivation of religious-bias offenses showed: • 65.4 percent were anti-Jewish
• 13.2 percent were anti-Islamic • 9.5 percent were anti-other religion, i.e., those not specified • 4.3 percent were anti-Catholic • 3.8 percent were anti-multiple religions, group • 3.3 percent were anti-Protestant • 0.5 percent were anti-Atheism/Agnosticism/etc
Sexual-orientation bias In 2010, law enforcement agencies reported 1,470 hate crime offenses based on sexual-orientation bias. Of these: • 57.9 percent were classified as anti-male homosexual bias • 27.4 percent were reported as anti-homosexual bias • 11.4 percent were prompted by an anti-female homosexual bias • 1.4 percent were the result of an anti-heterosexual bias • 1.9 percent were classified as anti-bisexual bias
hen John Hardy retired from 36 years of service at The University Club, he was looking to relax and enjoy life. That was until he walked into the corner space in a building across from the Jackson State Student Union and he had a vision. “I saw this space and everything it could be,” he says. “I saw the bar against the wall, the stage for entertainment, everything. I knew right then I had to open a restaurant here.” Thus, “The Penguin” makes it dramatic return. While a student at JSU in the ’70s, Hardy went daily to a small restaurant by the campus named The Penguin that became a community John Hardy gathering spot serving great food—most memorably, the hotdog special. What Hardy saw in this new location was an opportunity to further revitalize West Jackson and bring fine dining to a new level in Jackson. The Penguin captures different dining segments with charm and grace and, most importantly, great food. From the average Joe looking for a burger or turkey wrap to a couple in white tie and tails celebrating their anniversary, The Penguin delivers. Serving everything from Duck a’l’Orange, Rib Eye Cooley, and Eggplant Parmigiana to the ultimate throwback to the original restaurant, the hotdog special: two dogs, covered in coleslaw, with fries and spicy BBQ sauce. The recipe for the hotdog special is straight from the original owners of the first Penguin. Hardy wrote the menu with all walks of life in mind. If you are looking for fine Southern cuisine, Penguin has you covered with offerings on the daily special menu such as Smothered Pork Chop, Fried Chicken, and Shrimp and Grits. Make The Penguin your weekly lunch spot with their $10 daily lunch special that is light on the wallet and heavy on the flavor. Having a party? Let the staff at The Penguin be your hosts in their private dining room and make your party one to remember. If you are looking for a place to dine and jam, The Penguin is ready to receive you. With nightly live entertainment, a stellar wine list, and plenty of upcoming special events, Jackson’s newest nighttime hotspot has been established. The service, food, and atmosphere at The Penguin are nothing short of spectacular. After all, when a 36-year veteran does something, he does it big and he does it worthy of all that Jackson is and can become.
PA I D A DV E RT I S E M E N T
opining, grousing & pontificating
Love Thy Neighbor? Buy Local.
he programs are called all sorts of things these days—Think Local First, Small Business Saturday, Shift Your Shopping, Keep Austin Weird, Keep Fondren Funky—but they all point to one thing: the need to shop local* during the holidays. (Not to mention all other times of the year.) The reason is simple—when you buy local, more of that local business’ revenues remain in the locality where the business is. Unlike chain stores, whose local outlays are generally limited to hourly wages and (sometimes) property and sales taxes, the local business pays local professionals—tax pros, accountants, lawyers, caterers, artisans. They pay local service companies—laundry services, security services, supply companies—much more frequently than do those chains. The profits enjoyed by successful local entrepreneurs and managers circulate locally as products bought in other local businesses, along with local taxes paid, tithes made, charitable giving and so on. By contrast, money spent in Walmart goes directly to Bentonville, Ark., then into the pockets of the Walton family and Walmart shareholders (except for the chunk they send to China). The truth is that every dollar matters. A 2002 study by Civic Economies in Austin, Texas, found that $45 out of every $100 spent at a local independent store re-circulated in Austin as “secondary spending,” meaning the direct (lawyers, employers) and indirect (profits spent) benefits of that transaction; an estimated, piddly, $13 out of every $100 spent at a chain re-circulates. A profitable local business generates wealth, and wealth, re-invested, is what makes a community strong. Businesses that re-invest in communities—by buying and renovating buildings, lending to or investing in other businesses, sponsoring events and charities, or being part of an ecosystem that encourages more commerce—are the engines by which an economy like Jackson’s can thrive. Plus, there’s the “we live here” factor—during recessionary times such as now, notice which stores are the quickest to leave and which parts of the metro are starting to show blight as chain stores pack up shop to retain “shareholder value,” or leave a store shell behind to chase a more affluent audience. Local businesses simply are not as likely (or able) to quickly pick up and leave the communities where we live, educate our kids, play and worship. So, as a consumer and a “giver” this holiday season, pick your “local” phrase or ideology—and then do it. Spend every dollar you can with local, independent retailers. They will thank you, the recipients of your clever and unique “local” gifts will thank you—and you will thank yourself when you realize what you’re doing in your own, your family’s and your neighborhood’s best interest. *By using the phrase “shop local” we don’t mean to infringe upon the trademark of the Gannett Corp. Clarion-Ledger’s website ShopLocal.com(TM), a site devoted almost exclusively to the promotion of big-box retailers. We regret the similarity of the actual English words to the URL used cynically for that purpose.
Shop Without Shame
November 23 - 29, 2011
iss Doodle Mae: “As a senior employee of Jojo’s Discount Dollar Store, I look forward to this time of the year. This is the time when Jojo lets Chief Crazy Brotha, the most creative and artistic staff member, organize special events during the holiday season. I remember Chief Crazy Brotha’s premiere of his original stage play ‘Thanks for Giving Us Casinos and Hotels Without Reservations: A Black Indian Speaks on Thanksgiving.’ This play really enlightened Jojo’s mind, and the customers truly enjoyed Chief Crazy Brotha’s stellar performance. “The Thanksgiving play I remember the most is the controversial ‘Weepin’ and Wailin’ with Plenty of Towels on the Trail of Tears: A 400-Year Retrospective on Indian Removal.’ After the gut-wrenching performance, Jojo was pleased when customers wept and wailed in the linen section and bought up all the towels. Thanks to Chief Crazy Brotha, the entire staff got some nice bonuses that week. “Jojo’s Discount Dollar Store is ready to have another entertaining and enlightening ‘Post Thanksgiving (not Black Friday)’ sale. Jojo has stocked the store with plenty of inexpensive gift items, and he invites the ‘new poor’ (aka the middle class) to shop without shame. Back by popular demand, to bridge the digital divide in the ghetto, are Aunt Tee Tee Hustle’s refurbished computers. “And look out for Chief Crazy Brotha’s new Post Thanksgiving performance tribute to the Occupy Movement titled ‘One Third Native-American, 12 Two Thirds African-American and Part of the 99 Percent.’”
Just the Messenger
ississippi, and Jackson particularly, suffers from “shoot the messenger” syndrome. You know: If you don’t like the message, just attack the person(s) delivering it. If the message could possibly upset your gravy train, then you discredit the source. If the message draws too much attention to the fact that you have done little in your cushy job, well, we can’t let that happen can we? Instead, let’s just shoot the messenger. With him gone, we can continue business as usual. Have we gotten to the point here where we can’t criticize leadership? Or worse yet, I watch as those who vicariously benefit from the status quo become minions for the established and then attack dissenters—favors rescinded, contracts revoked, access denied. It’s similar to those who call protesters in the Occupy movement “hippies” or “unemployed slackers.” It’s much easier to find fault in the messenger than to face the bluntness of the message. In our city, the energy is palpable. Bubbling beneath the surface are the voices of young professionals in city and county government—young faces among the Democratic Party—new voices, new champions for Jackson who are stifled. Perhaps their voices are beginning to speak too loudly among the powerful and privileged. How do we ever really expect to change anything when we’re too occupied with not offending anyone? How are we to progress when we’re afraid of criticizing someone who may, in turn, seek retribution? What do we do when new ideas from fresh faces are met with “Wait your turn” or “You’re being disrespectful” or “You haven’t done anything” or “If
it wasn’t for me”—or better yet, “You’re running for something” or “You have an agenda”? The more things change around these parts, the more they stay the same. I for one am fed up. We’ve got issues. We’ve got people in office who aren’t addressing those issues. We’ve got institutions in place that enable these issues. We’ve got people who benefit from those in office and in those institutions telling us we shouldn’t talk about these issues. That dynamic is inherently wrong. The people aren’t being involved. They’re being dictated and condescended to—patronized even. Facebook posts, tweets, comments in town halls scream that the people don’t feel safe, yet ... silence. The most recent election shows that the Democrats statewide are crippled. But when I mentioned that glaring fact, a poster told me that I wasn’t “credible” enough to make that claim. So the people have to have “credibility” to criticize the establishment now? I’m done glad-handing. And you should be, too. Even as many of us have been vocal about what’s wrong in our city, I suppose when you stink at your job, you don’t want to hear that you stink, huh? Funniest thing, even as I had my doubts about these Occupy movements sprouting up all across the country, I look at my city and, ironically, I can now understand where they are coming from. “The emperors have no clothes.” Don’t shoot me; I’m just the messenger. And that’s the truth ... sho-nuff.
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Donâ€™t Mess With Mamas EDITORIAL Managing Editor Ronni Mott Assistant Editor Valerie Wells Reporters R.L. Nave, Elizabeth Waibel Events Editor Latasha Willis Editorial Assistant LaShanda Phillips Deputy Editor Briana Robinson Copy Editor Dustin Cardon Music Listings Editor Natalie Long Fashion Stylist Meredith Sullivan Writers Torsheta Bowen, Quita Bride, Marika Cackett, Scott Dennis, Bryan Flynn, Brandi Herrera, Diandra Hosey, Pamela Hosey, Robyn Jackson, Garrad Lee, Natalie Long, Larry Morrisey, Robin Oâ€™Bryant,Tom Ramsey, Julie Skipper, Ken Stiggers, Rebecca Wright Editorial Interns Brittany Kilgore, Sadaaf Mamoon, Hannah Vick Photography Intern Robert Hollins Consulting Editor JoAnne Prichard Morris
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â€œThe hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.â€? â€”William Ross Wallace
wo weeks ago, I was sitting in my living room watching the returns come back from the state elections, focusing so intently on the numbers scrolling across the bottom of the screen that I almost missed the what the second one meantâ€”â€œNo 58 percent.â€? It meant that we were winning. I screamed across my living room to the other Mamas who were lined up, sipping Pinot, grasping hands and holding out to find out if all the work weâ€™d done over the past two months was going to be enough. Did we put out enough flyers? Did we wave enough signs? Did we scream loud enough? Were we enough? Sitting at my desk one day two months previously, I saw this ominous sentence come across my Twitter timeline: â€œMississippi Supreme Court states Personhood can remain on the ballot.â€? Then there were the two minutes we all paused and asked, â€œWhat do we do now?â€? We needed someone to say something about this. We needed someone to stand up and talk about how this could hurt us. No one else seemed to be listeningâ€”not even the Mississippi Supreme Court. Turns out there was someone listeningâ€”The Mamas. I talked to some other friends of mineâ€”all Mamas like me. We related what this amendment would personally mean for us if it had been applied when we were trying to create our families. There were stories of women being cut open to remove loved potential children from tubes, women who experienced their children dying inside of them knowing they would carry the heartbreakâ€”if not the babyâ€”for the rest of their lives. Remembering that push to deliver our children into the world as being so life giving, each of us understood how close to the precipice of taking life that same push could be. So The Mamas put on our shoes. Some of us formed political-action committees, some of us made signs, and some of us learned how to get our faces in front of cameras. We knocked on doors, handed out flyers, held rallies. The bravest went to their churches and stood in front of judging congregations and told them that no matter what they called the amount of Christian inside of them, that they were voting noâ€”because of being a Mama. Mamas who had previously done nothing politicalâ€”and with no aspirations for suchâ€”stood on street corners holding signs. And we did it with 6-week-old babies and strollers and toddlers that tore up the flowers in front of the womenâ€™s monument on the south capitol lawnâ€”fitting, I think. We met other Mamasâ€”Atlee, Stacey, Cristen, Fran, Samantha and Amyâ€”who were holding signs of their own. Some had in-vitro babies, some had lost babies, and some
prayed for babies. Some of them had heaven babies or earth babies who were already grown and trying to have their own babies. Some of them had two generations of babies behind them and wanted those babies to give them more babies. That was the crux of our fight. That is what makes us The Mamas. We Mamas started using all those skills weâ€™d learned juggling car pool and practices and cooking and cleaning and our numerous undergrad and graduate degrees, and we applied them to social organization. Mamas are an amazingly complicated bag of tricks, as it turns out. We used minivans to lug protesters. We packed food and babies in wagons and showed up at rallies with goldfish crackers and bottles of refrigerated breast milk in one hand and a neatly painted sign held in the other. Instead of posting pictures of our kids on Facebook, we posted articles and legal arguments. We transformed our ability to calm a frightened toddler into using the same persuasive speech to change votes. We labored and used that perseverance to cheer each other on. We reminded each other to breathe. But mostly, we kept each other pissed off and focused on the end goal: winning. And by damn, with the entire â€œNO to 26â€? movement seeming to happen as organically as the brownies or soccer or Halloween costumes that Mamas seem to make look so easy, we did win. I know pundits will look at this yearâ€™s statewide elections for a long time trying to figure out just exactly what happened. We really dumbfounded an entire country. They want to know how much power these â€œMamasâ€? will have in the future. They want to know if they should be scared. The Mamas got together and held up those cradle-rocking hands and said: â€œNo. You will not do this.â€? We did it because we love our babies and our daughters and all the other Mamas in our lives with whom weâ€™ve held hands as they lost a baby or birthed a baby or fed a baby. We did it. With the rest of the world watching on Nov. 8, 2011, we let the entire voting populace of this state know with no uncertain terms (Iâ€™m talking about you, Phil Bryant) that we are enough. And when we arenâ€™t rocking those cradles, if you test us with any more nonsense, we will take those same hands, and we will rock a vote. Be careful, guys. The Mamas are watching. Lori Gregory-Garrott, LMSW, is a social worker and a Mama. Both professions seem to be dovetailing nicely with the current political climate in the state. She is loud, irreverent, and lives in Fondren with two horrifically fat cats, a lovely husband and a smart-mouthed toddler.
#LEAN #ITY 7ASTE #OLLECTION
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