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(866) 733-4376 August 1 - 7, 2012
August 1 - 7, 2012
1 0 N O . 47
contents JACOB FULLER
6 Jailhouse Rocked Hinds County Correctional Facility recently went into lockdown after an inmate disturbance. WARNER BROS
Cover photograph of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization’s interior by Trip Burns
Spirit of the Games
“I couldn’t work on issues of race and class without working on gender. That just kind of pushed me into being a black feminist.” Roberts also works as a doula, which she describes as a woman with birth knowledge who is there to provide emotional and physical support to mothers. “Birth is a woman’s time,” she says. “Not that men should not be there, but it’s a time for women to support women.” Roberts sees her work as a doula as a positive way to help women during and after their pregnancy. “(Mississippi has) the highest infant-mortality rate in the country, especially in women of color and low-income women of color. I think doulas could do a lot to help,” she says. “Research shows that women who have doulas at their births have better birth outcomes and their babies have better outcomes.” Eventually, Roberts wants to head up a community doula program in Jackson. Pro-life activists may see Roberts work as a feminist and a doula as contradictory, but she seems them as simultaneous acts. “It’s all about options,” she says. “Women have to have choices, whether it’s choices like when to become pregnant, the choice to proceed with their pregnancy or how to deliver their baby. To me it makes complete sense. It’s a continuum of women owning their reproduction and their reproductive choices.” —Victoria Sherwood
30 Remember the King Big K.R.I.T. is making a name for himself as a hip-hop artist with a introspective, self-deprecating style. JULIE SKIPPER
When she was 18, Laurie Roberts lay on a hospital table on the edge of life. “Please don’t let them kill me,” she begged the anesthesiologist who prepped her for surgery. Earlier that day, the same hospital had turned the pregnant Roberts away. “They said, ‘You are definitely having a miscarriage, but there is still a faint heartbeat, so we can’t do anything for you,’” she says. The Catholic hospital was the only hospital in her community, and it did not provide abortions even in emergencies. Roberts’ surgery only came after she began to hemorrhage and nearly bled to death. “All I could think of was that I wanted to get home to my two girls,” she says. Sixteen years later, Roberts is a feminist activist, a mother of seven and a doula. She is also the Mississippi state president of the National Organization of Women, where she advocates against anti-women legislation. She sends email blasts live from the state Capitol as she speaks to lawmakers and others about the consequences of anti-women bills. She usually has an entourage of her children in tow. “I’m just a mom,” she says. “I just put on my shoes and jumped into the Capitol. I just showed up with a laptop and a notebook.” In 2005, when she was 27, Roberts attended Jackson State University, where she studied political science. There, Roberts learned that social issues were connected. “They were all inclusive,” she says.
31 Slouchy, but Stylish You can wear clothes as cozy as PJs and slippers—while still leaving the flannel pants at home.
laurie bertram roberts
The excitement of the Olympics lives on in these films—whether made up or based on true stories. COURTESY BIG KRIT
4 .........Publisher’s Note 4 .................... Sorensen 6 ............................ Talk 10 .................. Business 12 ................... Editorial 13 ................. Opinion 13 .................. Kamikaze 14 ............ Cover Story 19 .............. Diversions 20 ......................... Arts 24 .................... 8 Days 26 ............. JFP Events 27 ........................ Film 28 ...................... Music 30 ....... Music Listings 31 ... Girl About Town 32 ................ Astrology 33 ........... Life & Style 34 ....................... Food 37 ..................... Sports 39 ................ Astrology 40 ...... Back to School
R.L. Nave Reporter R.L. Nave grew up in St. Louis, graduated from Mizzou (the University of Missouri), and lived a bunch of other places before coming to Jackson. Contact him at 601-362-6121 ext. 12, or email@example.com. He wrote the cover story.
Trip Burns Staff photographer Trip Burns is a graduate of the University of Mississippi where he studied English and sociology. He enjoys Richard Ford’s “Bascombe” books and the cinema of Stanley Kubrick. He took photos for the cover story.
Victoria Sherwood Editorial Intern Victoria Sherwood studies communications at Millsaps College. She enjoys watching soccer and one day hopes to own an orange cat. She wrote the Jacksonian.
Shameka Hayes Shameka Hayes-Hamilton is a mother of four who loves reading, writing and all kinds of music. Originally from Mendenhall in Simpson County, she has dreams of becoming a best-selling novelist. She wrote an arts feature.
Elyane Alexander Editorial intern Elyane Alexander is a native of Madison. She is a fourth-grade teacher. Her hobbies include reading, writing and shopping. She wrote an arts feature.
Sara Sacks Editorial intern Sara Sacks studies English and communications at Millsaps College. She runs for the Millsaps cross-country and track and field teams. She wrote about running for this issue.
Aaron Cooper Editorial intern Aaron Cooper reads more than he should, and writes a voluminous amount. He wrote a music feature.
August 1 - 7, 2012
Advertising Director Kimberly Griffin is a Jackson native who likes yoga, supporting locally owned businesses and traveling. In her spare time, she plots how she can become Michelle Obama’s water holder.
by Todd Stauffer, Publisher
On Milestones and Missions
s we push into August 2012, the Jackson Free Press has a couple of milestones to celebrate and a few to look forward to. I wanted to recap quickly and take a minute to say thanks to all the wonderful folks on our team and the volunteers who have helped this summer as well. As we close in our on 10th birthday in September, the JFP also celebrated this past weekend the Eighth Annual Chick Ball, which this year raised money for a rape crisis center at the Center for Violence Prevention in Pearl. We’re still tallying the proceeds (and still accepting last-minute cash donations and sponsorships) but it looks like the event raised well over $10,000, and we thank all the volunteers and supporters who made it happen. In particular, we need to thank Executive Assistant Erica Crunkilton, who did a fabulous job of helming her first Chick Ball. Stage managers Ariss King and Lisa Rodenis nailed a tough and thankless job of keeping the event moving along. Ronni Mott, as always, provided excellent journalism about why sexual assault needs more attention from the community. And Monique Davis was an excellent coordinator of food donations. But that’s not all: Nearly every staff member and intern, as well as many community members, volunteered to collect donations, run errands, decorate, set up the silent auction, haul tables in the heat, design flyers, shoot photos and so many other tasks. We and the center thank you. The second milestone I want to talk about has been a bit more under the radar. As you may have noticed, the Jackson Free Press website quietly underwent a major facelift this past month, the culmination of about six months of behind-the-scenes work by our web developer (and distribution manager), Matt Heindl, who has put in a lot of long hours and managed to write a whole lot of code he never expected to write! Matt has done a tremendous job during this transition, which is our most ambitious web move ever. The JFP’s site—I call it JFP 3.0—now uses a world-class newspaper content management system, after nearly 10 years of using high-end blogging software (pMachine, then ExpressionEngine) to the edges of that software’s capacity. In the past, we had to hire programmers to get our website to do things we needed it to do. Now, although it’s all taken some tweaking by Matt and Latasha Willis, our events editor (and a tireless web transitioner over the past few months) and Daily web editor Dustin Cardon, we’ve got a more robust system for publishing entertainment listings, restaurant listings, music and, of course, hard-hitting news. (And there’s more to come, such as local band pages, more robust music listings and even a local music jukebox.) The new site is also designed to recognize and reformat automatically for smartphones, and you can use our shortened URL for easy access—just enter jfp.ms in your smartphone browser, and you’ll see the JFP site presented
for easy reading on the phone. (Our design is still in “beta” on the mobile site, and special tweaks for tablet are coming in the near future, too, so look for changes there in the coming weeks and months.) Speaking of design, thanks go out to Kristin Brenemen, who developed the color scheme and layout of the site, and Alanna Leist, who as an intern spent a good deal of time playing with the site design to help make the choices we’d need to present a lot of information in a compact space. Something that we’re really enjoying about the new website is its native ability to integrate a great deal of multimedia into the presentation of stories. We’ve welcomed Trip Burns to the staff from part- to fulltime the past few weeks as a photographer and multimedia reporter, and as a result you’re seeing more photo galleries, big opening photos and produced videos for the site. Trip is also busy shooting for BOOM, Jackpedia and a host of other projects, so we salute his energy and attitude! Meanwhile, the rest of the news team— Ronni Mott, R.L. Nave, Jacob Fuller and Donna Ladd in particular—seem to be really enjoying one of JFP 3.0’s special abilities: an uncanny knack for ingesting and displaying documents. In the past month, we’ve seen more filings, rulings, judgments, releases and statements on the site than we’ve seen for a long time. And the documents feature is particularly exciting because gives our readers direct access to the public documents that we’re using in our reporting about the city, county, state and its officials. The more access you have to the original sources, the more informed you can be. That’s why you’ll be seeing more raw video and audio of interviews and press con-
ferences as we go, too. See the new JFP Documents Morgue at jfp.ms/documents. Another feature we’ve added in the last two weeks is something we’re really excited about: The JFP is now a member of the Associated Press. With access to state, national and world reporting from the AP, we’ll be able to significantly increase the number of quality stories we bring you online every day. Not only can we share some duties with AP’s Mississippi team when it comes to reporting items in the region—including news on the Gulf Coast and sports from around the state—but by accessing some of AP’s reporting for national and world stories, we can free up our local team of reporters to dig even deeper on the city, county and metro level. While daily papers in the metro and in the region are going behind paid firewalls for their website (or, in the case of New Orleans, Mobile and elsewhere, cutting the actual number of days they offer a print product), we at the JFP are betting on the opposite strategy—we’re staying free to the reader. Free access in print, free online and free on your smartphone or tablet. Join the JFP Daily newsletter at jfpdaily. com (which is also where we have contests, prizes and deals) and check out jfp.ms for breaking news from around the city, state and world. Use the “Contact Us” form to send a letter to the editor or simply to let us know how we’re doing. You may just find you can save some of that “firewall” money and, instead, invest it in some purchases from local retailers and restaurants. Buy local! Todd Stauffer is co-owner and publisher of the Jackson Free Press. Write him at todd@ jacksonfreepress.com.
SUPE RC ACC E ARD PTED
news, culture & irreverence
Wednesday, July 25 Hinds County Election Commission releases the official vote tally in the Ward 3 runoff election. They fail to include 88 of 121 votes cast at Precinct 11. ... The Olympic torch for the London 2012 Games, carried by athletes and charity workers, makes its way through some of the most memorable sights in London.
Friday, July 27 Two fired jailers from the Hinds Correctional Facility sue the city, claiming that they are owed tens of thousands of dollars for unpaid overtime work. ... The 2012 Summer Olympics games officially kick off in London with an opening ceremony that includes the royal family, James Bond actor Daniel Craig and international soccer superstar David Beckham. Saturday, July 28 Rafael Palmeiro becomes a member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. ... Funded by $10 million in federal money, the Mississippi Department of Education announces it will pilot a program that pays elementary school teachers and principals bonuses for meeting certain goals. Sunday, July 29 The Mississippi Braves fall to the Montgomery Biscuits 5-2. ... The French swim team tops the U.S. team in the menâ€™s 4x100m relay to earn gold.
August 1 - 7, 2012
Monday, July 30 Inmates take over Pod C at the Hinds County Correctional Facility in a disturbance that takes law enforcement 12 hours to resolve. â€Ś 600 million people are without power in India because the countryâ€™s northern and eastern power grids failed.
Tuesday, July 31 In front of his grandmotherâ€™s former home in Georgetown, Jonathan Lee officially announces his candidacy for Jackson mayor. ... The U.S. female gymnastics team wins Olympic gold for their team performance in London. Get news updates at jfpdaily.com.
Inmates Take Over Jail Pod by Jacob Fuller
AYMONDâ€”After a disturbance at tical experience and training to get in without repair the damage to the pod, or how much the Hinds County Correctional Fa- harming themselves or harming anyone else,â€? it will cost. cility, law enforcement officers took Lewis said. The sheriff said there have been no more than 12 hours to take back and Because of the flooding and other possi- injuries. One detention officer was taken fully secure the facility. ble damage to the prison, Pod C is now inop- to the hospital for precautionary measures, Inmates created a disturbance but Lewis said she did not susin Pod C at HCCF around 2:30 tain any injuries. a.m. Monday. One inmate, KendThough officers were in the all Johnson, started the disturbance building, the disturbance was not by flooding the Pod and holding over by 2 p.m., Lewis said. Officers off guards with a fire hose, and were continuing to clear the pod, then letting other inmates out of one housing unit at a time. their cells, Hinds County Sheriff The jail was on lockdown Tyrone Lewis said. In all, 183 inuntil officers could regain control mates populated the pod, and they of the pod. Officers from sevquickly flooded the jail and took eral jurisdictions joined the Hinds over at least one housing unit. County Sheriff Department on the The county sheriffâ€™s departscene, including Clinton Police, ment, with the help of several Raymond Police, Rankin County other law-enforcement agencies, Sheriff Department and the Missecured most of the Hinds County Hinds County Sheriff Tyrone Lewis (left) speaks to Hinds County sissippi Highway Patrol. Supervisor Robert Graham (right), District 1, outside the Hinds Correctional Facility by mid-day County Correctional Facility Monday. Inmates took over at least The family of inmate JohnMonday. Around 2 p.m., Lewis one housing unit of the jail Monday morning. son was outside the facility Montold the media that officers had day morning. His mother, Delores entered the jail at 12:27 p.m. and Walker, said Johnson told her that had secured two of the four units in Pod C. erable, Hinds County Chief Joseph Daughtry jailers at the facility beat him Sunday. Inmates offered no resistance in either hous- said Tuesday. Inmates from Pod C have been Walker said no one from the Sheriffâ€™s ing unit, Lewis said. Each Pod is made up of moved to Madison and Rankin County hold- Department has spoken to her or any of the four housing units. ing facilities. All other pods are fully opera- family members of inmates since the disturâ€œWe have what we call several different tional, Daughtry said. bance began. S.W.A.T. teams in place. They have tactical Daughtry said the Sheriffâ€™s Departâ€œWe need to know the names of the ofexperience, and they were able to use their tac- ment does not know how long it will take to JAIL, see page 7 JACOB FULLER
Thursday, July 26 Jurors in Copiah County sentence David Dickerson to death for the murder of Paula Hamilton. ... Ford recalls more than 400,000 Mavericks and Escapes, because the gas pedals were sticking and causing accidents.
The majority of abortions are performed at less than 13 weeks of pregnancy, according to the National Abortion Federation. Of those women, less than 0.5 percent have complications that require additional surgery procedures or hospitalization.
Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret BarrettSimon takes on infrastructure. p9
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news, culture & irreverence
JAIL, from page 6
ficers who beat my son,â€? Walker said. Walker said Johnson was in the facility on charges of possession of marijuana, a violation of probation for a previous offense. He has not been to court on the marijuana charge. Community activist and organizer of Citizens Against Racial Profiling David Archie spoke for Johnsonâ€™s family at the scene. He said Johnson refused to surrender to anyone but Hinds County Supervisor Kenneth Stokes or Gov. Phil Bryant. Stokes arrived on the scene around 12:45 p.m., and Hinds County deputies let him past the checkpoint at the corner of County Farm Road and Highway 18. Archie said he offered to put on a bulletproof vest and enter the prison to negotiate for Sheriff Lewis. He said Johnson did not want to talk to anyone with a gun and a badge.
â€œNo one who has a badge or gun should be beating anybody up,â€? Archie said of Johnsonâ€™s claims of abuse. He also said it was wrong that no one had talked to the families of the inmates who had been sitting in the heat outside the jail all day. â€œThey donâ€™t care what the family thinks. They only care about the power they possess,â€? he said. Lewis said there were enough guards in the Pod, and that he did not know of any guards beating prisoners or of any sub-par conditions in the complex. He said he wants to undertake a fair investigation into the causes of the disturbance. The disturbance is the latest in a string of uprisings at prisons and correctional facilities across the state in recent months. Comment at www.jfp.ms. Email Jacob Fuller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CITY ELECTION BLUNDERS CONTINUE
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DONATE & SAVE
by R.L. Nave
Why Are Our Kids Last?
Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” Because Medicaid comprises 16 percent of revenue for hospitals around the state, growing the program could represent an economic boon to Mississippi, Sivak said. “When children are in families with stable jobs, they do better in school and that translates into higher rates of success moving onto higher education,” he said. The report does show a few positive trends. For example, the number of Mississippi children without health insurance declined by 38 percent from 2008 to 2010. Also, the percentage of children who abuse alcohol went down 14 percent from 2005/2006 to 2008/2009, while child and teen death rates decreased by 10 percent. Despite Mississippi’s 48th ranking for education, the Kids Count study also held some encouraging signs in that area. Since last year’s study, more Mississippi children are attending preschool, and more fourth graders are becoming proficient at reading. Eighth-grade math proficiency is also increasing. The numbers of children in families where the head of the household lacks a highschool diploma are on the decline as well. The number of children in single-parent households decreased 2 percent between 2005 and
Defending Voter ID
August 1 - 7, 2012
funding conversation,” she said. As lawmakers have debated ferociously over whether to allow charter schools to open in Mississippi, budget architects have consistently underfunded the state’s education funding formula known as Mississippi Adequate Education Program. This year, the shortfall is $250 million. Cultural changes also need to be made, Fitzgerald said. She wants a return to the days when people held the teaching profession in higher esteem and said “we have to stop getting teachers by default,” because they can’t get a more desirable job anywhere else. Fitzgerald believes the political will to improve exists, but said it’s time for policymakers to put their money where their mouth is. Comment at www.jfp.ms. Email R.L. Nave at email@example.com.
The numbers of people who could be disenfranchised are difficult to assess, said Bear Atwood, legal director of the Mississippi ACLU in Jackson. But whether it’s 48,000 or 3,000 or three, she asked, how many is “too many” when it comes to denying someone’s constitutional right to vote? In its response to Hosemann’s accusations, Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice said that the center and report authors stand by their conclusions. “The Challenge of Obtaining Voter Identification” devotes nearly half its pages to outlining its methodology and citing data sources used. The center obtained population data from the U.S. Census. Hosemann also took issue with the report saying that half the state’s rural offices issuing IDs are open part time. The Brennan Center used information from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety website list of offices that issue driver’s licenses. A scan of the hours listed reveal numerous part-time locations, such as Indianola’s Justice Court Building at 202 Main St., which is open “1st & 3rd Thursday, 8:30-4:30 (closed for lunch 12:00-1:00),” according to the website. Kosciusko’s office is only open Tuesdays. The secretary of state the characterization of the “Mississippi ‘Catch-22,’” (reported by
the Jackson Free Press July 5) whereby a citizen must produce a birth certificate to obtain a Voter ID card, but must have governmentissued photo ID to obtain a birth certificate. Hosemann said that “each Circuit Clerk will be able to access the National Association for Public Health Statistics to verify available birth certificate data across the country at no cost to the applicant by simply obtaining basic information from the applicant.” Hosemann’s press release was the first Atwood had ever heard of this procedure, she said, adding that part of the problem is that the entire process has yet to be codified or funded, and is filled with unknowns. “There’s no way to test the logistics,” she said. Atwood also touched on issues affecting rural populations, the elderly and women. Birth certificates may not exist at all, Atwood said, and may also be in a different name. “There may not be a birth certificate in some database somewhere. It may not exist,” she said. “We don’t know how many people are not going to be able to connect the dots from their birth certificate to their current name.” “I would want to ask the secretary, ‘What’s the acceptable number of people to disenfranchise?’” Atwood said. “I think it’s zero.” Comment at www.jfp.ms. Email Ronni Mott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Ronni Mott
the number purported to represent the total number of people who would be disenfranWARD SCHAEFER
ississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann vehemently defended the state’s ability to provide free IDs for its as-yet approved Voter ID law, issuing a scathing retort July 26 to “The Challenge of Obtaining Voter Identification,” a report issued July 17 by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. In the report, the Brennan Center identified numerous potential barriers for voters seeking to comply with new Voter ID laws in the 10 states that have passed them. Among them are the cost of getting supporting documentation such as birth and marriage certificates, and travel distances, lack of transportation and part-time hours of state offices that could issue the IDs. Hosemann’s office called the report “purposely inaccurate and misleading,” in a press release. It “exaggerates the population number, then multiplies it by the ‘estimated’ number of people without transportation, to provide a totally fraudulent number of 48,329 voting citizens without a vehicle more than ten (10) miles from a state ID issuing office. This statement is false and the Brennan Center had knowledge to the contrary when the ‘Report’ was issued.” Multiple news outlets trumpeted the Brennan Center’s 48,000 figure, insinuating
2010. Nationally, the number of children in one-parent homes increased. “It kind of takes your breath away to see these tough numbers,” said Robert Langford, executive director of Operation Shoestring. Langford calls for taking attitude toward overcoming the challenges of Mississippi’s kids rather than the non-collaborative “silo approach” that policy officials often take. Investing in workforce development should not come at the expense of early childhood education, he said. Oleta Fitzgerald, southern regional director for Children’s Defense Fund, said Mississippi is an “ideological standstill” on education that the state must overcome. She points to the recent rancorous debate over charter schools. “You can’t have a charter-school conversation without an education-
ackson-area child advocacy organizations say Mississippi’s kids don’t have to be in last place. In the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual Kids Count survey, released last week, Mississippi remained the worst state in the nation for child well-being for the second year in a row. Mississippi finished 50th in the economic well-being and family and community categories, the study found. The state was 48th in the education and health categories. From there, the data were broken down into 16 subcategories in which Mississippi saw improvement in eight areas. Conditions worsened in eight areas. Ed Sivak, the executive director of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center, said the Casey Foundation data underscore the need for policymakers to invest in asset-development strategies such as saving for a home or a business, education and health-care infrastructure. Specifically, Mississippi’s less-than-stellar results for children demonstrate the importance of expanding the Medicaid program for people with low incomes, Sivak said. Gov. Phil Bryant and other elected officials have said that the Mississippi could not afford to grow the Medicaid rolls under Congress’ Affordable
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann came down hard on the Brennan Center for Justice report outlining barriers to obtaining Voter IDs.
chised by the new law in Mississippi. In reality, the report only said this was an estimate of citizens who lived more than 10 miles from an issuing office who also lacked transportation. Calls to Pamela Weaver, Hosemann’s director of communications, were not returned.
by Jacob Fuller
Barrett-Simon: Eyes on the Streets
What is your next infrastructure priority in Ward 7? Certainly, (my priority) is to get this project done, and drainage. Every infrastructure need is very obvious in Ward 7. We’ve got the oldest of everything, from one end of town to the other. That’s a huge challenge. Our drainage situation seems to be getting worse, not better. I don’t know whether that’s because we’re having new building construction that’s going on that is causing more runoff. Our infrastructure and our streets are the oldest in the city. That continues to be the challenge. I would say drainage and streets. Where, specifically, have you seen the drainage problems? Most everywhere in Ward 7. Last year,
the area behind the old McRae’s, Choctaw Road, that completely filled, overflowed and went up into houses there. That’s gone on for a number of years. Over on Pleasant Avenue, where Town
Then, in midtown, around Millsaps Avenue, where Habitat (for Humanity) has done a number of houses, and other areas of midtown, if we have a big rain like we had last week, the streets just absolutely rise
Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon has fought for the Fortification Street renewal for years. Now she is setting her sights on drainage problems in the Ward.
Creek comes through, this last horrible rain we had, it would be worth your time to just go over there and just at how high the water came. I’ve been over there when we’ve had fireman and boats come in. The water would have been over my head. In the Belhaven area in the last few weeks, we have had houses (and) cars flooded. I mean, it looked like you could have done white-water rafting in the photos that were taken. We had a meeting at Belhaven College the other night with Midtown and Belhaven Heights. Some of the stories are shocking. They said in Belhaven, they were lucky not to have lost a life. In fact, several good Samaritans went to the aid of someone who really was in terrible trouble.
but we’ve got to have some help from our legislature. As you know, our federal funding, which helped so much with infrastructure, drainage (and) roadways, that’s not a viable option right now. So we have a lot of challenges. Most major hospitals in the city are in Ward 7. How do you expect new health-care laws, and in particular Medicare and Medicaid, to affect the economy in the Ward? I think that the hospitals are going to have a tough time here, because so many of our people are uninsured. As far as jumping into that debate right now, I think that the state leadership and hospitals and their organizations need to come together and figure out what is the best way. But I can’t imagine, with the number of uninsured, poverty-level individuals and families that we have in the state, that (not insuring everyone) would be at all good for the bottom line of our hospitals.
argaret Barrett-Simon has governed from City Hall longer than most Jacksonians can remember, and in that time, the infrastructure of her ward has seen little revitalization. The Ward 7 Councilwoman first took office on the City Council in 1985. Since then, she has served as the president and vice president of the council, and chairwoman of nearly every committee. The graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and mother of five hasn’t, however, seen many improvements to the aging infrastructure of her ward, which runs along the west side of Interstate 55, from Meadowbrook Road in the north just past Elton Road in the south. For years, Barrett-Simon has pushed to have the city repave Fortification Street, a vital entrance into the city from the interstate. Plans for that street’s facelift are finally underway, and construction began this week. The JFP sat down with Barrett-Simon in her City Hall office July 16 to talk about infrastructure and other issues in Ward 7.
to the front doors of places and flooded many of them. So because of the aging infrastructure, we’ve got real problems all over the city, but especially in the older areas. What is the answer to how you get the funding and get that fixed? That’s our challenge right now. I’m sorry we’re doing this interview just as the new budget is getting ready to come out, because anything I say today, in a few weeks won’t then be in discussion, and we’ll be debating what the administration has brought forward. I hope (with) this increase in sales tax and few other belt-tightening measures that we’ve done here that we will identify funds for some of the real needs in the city,
With the new health-care laws, will it help once everyone is insured? I would think so, but we’ve got to wait and see what our state leaders are going to do, and they’ve said, as of this morning, that they’re not doing anything about this until the new legislature is seated and this election is over. That will be next year. I think it’s premature for me, at the local level, to be making decisions here, because I’m ultimately not the one that’s going to make the decision. You asked me how I thought it would impact the institutions that are in this ward. I think it will have a serious impact. As of this moment, I have not sat down with any of the administrations of the hospitals to talk about this issue. Read the rest of the interview and comment at www.jfp.ms. Email Jacob Fuller at email@example.com.
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A Culinary Dream Made Real
August 1 - 7, 2012
First Friday of Each Month Free Spanish Class
are prepared fresh daily and take four hours to make,” Bell said. The effort pays off in the meals served. While Bell and Meyer don’t claim that every single item on the
opening the restaurant studying ingredients and ways of cooking used around the world and throughout history. He found the traditional foods of the Americas to be the most exciting. “The Europeans that ‘discovered’ America were actually a bunch of foodies in search of better ingredients and spices from India,” Bell said. They brought their various national styles of cooking and mixed it with all the new ingredients found in the Americas.” Jaco’s Tacos is meant to capture everything Bell learned from those studies. He brings the mix of European and native flavors together, the way cooks did so many years ago. The restaurant is still a budding endeavor. Things are sure to change, but with their goals in mind, those changes should only be for the better. The traditional flavors of their food may be some of the best to be had in Jackson, and the live music provides a fun atmosphere. The years of work that has gone into this restaurant is coming to fruition in the most satisfying of ways. Jaco’s Tacos is located at 318 S. State St. Hours are: Monday-Tueday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, call 601-961-7001, or visit jacostacos.com or the restaurant’s Facebook page. TRIP BURNS
ohn Bell and Allison Meyer are out or twice a week the restaurant plays host to to give Jackson a taste of the Ameri- local bands. The outdoor seating is popular, cas that’s a bit more traditional than a even in brutal summer heat. Surpassing the run-of-the-mill Tex-Mex joint. For a atmosphere, however, is the food. long time, Bell has been formulating plans for a restaurant that brings together established ingredients and cooking styles, and this year he was finally able to make his dream restaurant a reality. Bell and Meyer met working together in Utah, as survival guides in of a wilderness-therapy program aimed at helping troubled teenagers. Last November, they went on a date and, soon after, decided they wanted to get married. Meanwhile back here in Jackson, the people leasing the building that would become the couple’s restaurant let it go, so Meyer and Bell decided to take it themselves. Bell is a Jackson native, and decided with his soon-to-be wife to move back home and open up the restaurant he’d been dreaming of. Today, Jaco’s Tacos owners Allison Meyer and John Bell Jaco’s Tacos is open at pride themselves on using authentic, traditional 318 S. State St. recipes and ingredients in their foods. “We moved in January, opened Jaco’s in March and got married in April,” Bell The menu features everything said. It wasn’t easy. With its low, low bud- from shrimp to burgers to the obviget, the restaurant had to serve food on ous—tacos. Bell and Meyer have gone paper plates for the first few weeks. Now to great lengths to keep their ingredients and they’re upgrading the whole space, mak- preparation as close to traditional recipes ing it look nicer all the time. Besides the as possible. They use the most natural inregular indoor seating and a bar, there is gredients available and prepare everything also a fairly large patio area at the entrance. themselves in the most time-honored way. Pepper plants grow along the border of the They make their own tortillas by hand, for restaurant’s property, blocking off the view example, no machine pressing or preservaof the street and framing sunsets in the eve- tives to be found. ning. Jaco’s has a stage outside, where once Quality is the prerogative. “Our beans
menu is the best of its kind found anywhere, the freshness and quality certainly come through—and it’s all incredibly filling. Jaco’s serves its drinks (except the alcoholic ones) in fat mason jars, which not only give you a massive serving but adds to the charm of the place. It reminds you that Jaco’s is just a little bit different from other restaurants. Bell spent many years long before
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opining, grousing & pontificating
Stop Phoning It In
here are problems with elections in this city, problems that every citizen should be worried about. Joyce Jackson and her attorney John Reeves helped bring that to light when they successfully challenged the legality of the Feb. 28 Ward 3 runoff election in court. A jury felt Jackson presented enough evidence of polling improprieties to order another election. With the help of the Hinds County Election Commission, the city held another court-ordered Ward 3 runoff election July 24. This time, instead of poll workers, the commissioners tripped over their own feet while tallying the votes. Initially, the election commission counted only 33 votes at Precinct 11, located in the Jackson Medical Mall. If not for an observant eye, another 88 votes would have gone uncounted forever. Jackson Free Press reporter Jacob Fuller and intern Aaron Cooper visited the Jackson Medical Mall on Election Day to check in on the voting numbers a little after 2 p.m. At that time, Fuller noted that 67 voters had signed the rolls. By the end of the day, 121 voters had signed and voted at the precinct. No one in either the county or city election commissioners’ offices noticed the discrepancy until Fuller pointed it out to them July 26, two days after the election and after the city Election Commission had certified the results. When he pointed out the mistake, the county said tallying the votes is the city election commissioner’s job. Fuller then called Election Commissioner Beryl P. Williams, who said she knew nothing about the discrepancy between the vote total and the voter roll. She hadn’t looked at the voter roll, she said. The explanation was that an issue arose because a poll worker pressed a button that stopped one voting machine from downloading correctly. That mistake could have easily been discovered and corrected, though, if only someone had bothered to look at the number of signatures on the voter roll and verified the precincts reported votes against the roll. Only 188 votes separated challenger Jackson and winner LaRita CooperStokes. The real loser in the election was not Ms. Jackson, however, it was the 88 voters who almost didn’t have their voices heard, and the people of this city who expect a complete, fair and mistake-free election. In am atmosphere where the city election commissioners can’t be bothered to verify voting machine totals against voter rolls, it’s no wonder that voters feel their voices don’t count. Mississippi doesn’t need Voter IDs to “protect the purity” of the vote. It needs politicians, poll workers and election bureaucrats to give a damn about the people who count on them to keep elections fair and honest. Phoning it in, whether by ideology or laziness, just keeps us stuck in the same muddy tracks we’ve been in for far too long.
Time to Retire
August 1 - 7, 2012
rother Hustle: “At many of the Compensatory Investment Request support-group meetings, I see a whole lot of sad and jobless people who have lost their source of pride. One of the unemployed deejays said to me that he had no reason to get out of bed and look for work because he was plagued by depression, anxiety, worry and stress. Many frustrated, jobless folk have neglected their health and well being by indulging in alcohol and drugs—aka getting high to escape the lows in their lives. And some unemployed men and women of the Ghetto Science Community have steered toward crime as a way to acquire money. “While many of our unemployed citizens deal with the uncertainty of the job market, leadership of both parties continues to manufacture the illusion of a recovery via photo ops at factories and pontification about spending cuts. Plus, they do little or nothing to bring forth any economic recovery in poor and middle-class communities. “Today’s necessity motivates me, Aunt Tee Tee, the Ghetto Science Team and members of the Compensatory Investment Request Group to create an alternative toward helping disenfranchised people achieve some economic stability. “Therefore, the Compensatory Investment Request Support Group will introduce to unemployed members of the Ghetto Science Community the ‘Compensatory Investment Request Early Retirement Program,’ giving people a means to escape from the vicious cycle of joblessness before it gets worse. Our 12 motto is: Since the job creators refuse to hire, it’s time for us to retire.”
To The Reverend Jim Futral, Executive Director, Mississippi Baptist Convention July 30, 2012 Dear Jim,
hen we were ministerial students together at Blue Mountain College, the only surprise in the Crystal Springs story would have been that anyone had the temerity to suggest that a black couple could get married in a white First Baptist Church anywhere in the State. And, in spite of all the testimony to progress in mainstream Mississippi, it is clear that the more things change, the more they stay the same—in society and no less in the church where 11 o’clock on Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour of the week. In light of all the claims of progress in race relations in Southern Baptist life and the symbolic election of a black SBC president, I am writing to suggest that the only appropriate and ethical response to the Crystal Springs FBC declining to host the wedding of a black couple would be for the convention and the County Baptist Association to undertake to withdraw fellowship from the church, pending an official apology and written policy against racial discrimination in all church activities by the governing Board of Deacons of the church. Surely a religious communion with the
racial history of the MBC/SBC and one that has threatened to and in fact withdrawn fellowship from congregations that chose to ordain women to the gospel ministry, that has forced out seminary professors who believed in ordaining women, can exercise the moral will to take significant action in face of this blatant act of racism by a church in the fellowship. Even if some black citizens of Crystal Springs forgive the church, this act is of more than local importance. It is an affront to all the black congregations and individuals who have joined or are thinking of becoming part of the SBC. In the spirit of the Convention’s commitment to a new day in race relations, in the Spirit of the faithfulness of your father, the Reverend Guy Futral, whom I admired so much, and in the inclusive Spirit of Christ, I ask you to take the initiative to organize a more effective and appropriate response than has been offered by anyone to date. Sincerely, Don Manning-Miller Holly Springs
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Opening the Door
drive past the abortion clinic on State Street daily. Or rather, I drive past the Jackson Women’s Health Center office on State Street daily. Because that’s what it is: a medical office. Depending on the day, there might be young teens with their mouths marred by masking tape, Roy McMillan with his fetus pictures or young adults standing under umbrellas reading their Bibles. Black and flimsy torn tarps cover the barred fence around the clinic’s entrance. The clinic is only open and performs abortions on certain days. I’ve seen the protesters on the days I know the clinic is closed and I wonder if they feel as if they’ve “wasted their chance.” I imagine they feel quite high and self-righteous when they show up on a day they get to harass women entering the clinic—the strength of Jesus flowing heavily through their veins as they condemn another human in crisis. I haven’t walked the sidewalk around that building in 10 years. I’ll always remember the day I did, though. It was prefaced by a morning when a much younger me awoke to discover that my birth-control choice the previous evening had failed. This younger me was faced with making a pretty heavy decision about what needed to happen next to ensure I could finish my master’s degree without having to make that “I’m pregnant” phone call to my family and friends. Because you really don’t want to make that phone call in Mississippi—just trust me. Even now, I can’t adequately describe my feelings. I felt completely out of control of my body—betrayed even. “Please, please, please,” I heard in my head over and over as I tried to contact my regular OB/GYN. Emergency contraception existed at that time, and I was educated enough to know about it. It wasn’t quite as politicized, then, and I understood it was simply one month’s pack of birthcontrol pills with different instructions concerning administration. On that day I found out—to my horror—that my OB did not write prescriptions on weekends. I knew about the JWHO, but knew very little about its operations. I had never had the need for an abortion. At the time, I was a non-political 24-year-old with a penchant for Norah Jones and the customary middle-class delusion that nothing bad would ever touch me. Other than being fairly certain after a women’s studies class in college that I was pro-choice, I had not investigated those beliefs further. I just knew that in this instance, I wanted nothing but to make sure I didn’t get pregnant. So, I picked up the phone book and called the clinic. After more than a few rings, someone finally answered the line.
I shamefully told the woman my circumstances and then sat, praying as hard as I ever remember praying, while the phone delivered nothing but the faint silence of someone making a decision. “We’re only open two hours today, and I was about to lock up,” she said. “But, if you can come right now, I’ll wait for you and get a prescription for your emergency contraception.” I breathed. I told her, joyfully almost, that I was “on my way, and I drive really, really fast.” I then dropped everything and raced to the clinic. I had no idea what to expect. But as I pulled up, I was pleasantly surprised by the deserted sidewalk and parking lot. I guessed then that due to the limited hours of operation on the weekends, protesters didn’t see it as a good use of their time. I was simply grateful. “Just let me finish this without feeling worse,” I thought. I walked haltingly up that deserted sidewalk to the door and pulled the handle. It was locked. My heart sank. I thought she’d left. Determined, I softly knocked and saw a smiling woman wearing scrubs walk around the front desk with a key on a chain. She turned the lock on the door, smiled and said, “Hi! Are you the girl that just called?” I informed her that I was. She picked up a white sack on the desk and said, “You are lucky! I caught the doctor.” I couldn’t work my lips fast enough to say all the thank yous I wanted to say to her—to them. So, I said it once. I then paid her $30, and she walked me out the door with that same smile. She locked it behind me to protect herself from whatever might be waiting outside, because she never knows if it’s just going to be a girl that desperately needs some help, or a protester intent on causing her harm. But, she opens the door anyway. And they keep opening the door. Seven days later when I finally got my period, I’m pretty sure the staff at the restaurant where it happened thought I won the lottery in the bathroom. They had no idea how close they were. I didn’t win the lottery; I won a different life. I won a life of my choosing. I want to make sure that when another girl like me is standing outside that door, knocking and praying, that a woman is always waiting to round that desk, turn the lock in the door and let her in. Because that day, just by opening the door, she saved my life. Lori Gregory-Garrott, LMSW, works with kids in crisis and their families. Some days, she writes and bakes horrible cupcakes. She lives in Fondren and thinks it’s awesome. Like everyone should.
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August 1 - 7, 2012
mily Lyons arrived at work early the morning of Jan. 30, 1998. A pretty woman with long, dark hair, Lyons, then 42, was the head nurse at the south Birmingham health clinic that opened at 8 a.m. The clinicâ€™s administrator, Michelle Farley, was feeling nauseous and running late. It was around 7:30 a.m. when Lyons went to say good morning to Robert Sanderson, an off-duty police officer who sometimes worked security at the clinic in addition at some of the local gay bars for extra money. Known to everyone as Sandy, he wasnâ€™t the clinicâ€™s regular guard. As he escorted Lyons to the building, she noticed an overturned flowerpot partially buried near the clinicâ€™s entrance. Lyons would later recollect the fake plant â€œwas not anything we would have ever had. So at that point, Sandy knew something was wrong.â€?
Dead Silence â€œDo you hear the sirens? Theyâ€™re coming for us. Theyâ€™ve blown up the clinic.â€? 14 Click. Dead silence.
Diane Derzis received the phone call at her home 600 miles away in Virginia, an hour after Sanderson leaned over to inspect the mysterious plant. She tried unsuccessfully to call the woman back. The caller was the Birmingham clinicâ€™s administrator, Farley. Unnerved by the message, Derzis turned on the television, and everything became clear. A bomb packed with dynamite and 5.5 pounds of nails, locked in a toolbox and hidden under the plastic plant, exploded at 7:33 a.m. The blast killed Sanderson immediately and critically injured Lyons. Derzis caught the first flight she could out of Charlottesville an hour or two later. During a layover in Charlotte, she stared weepy-eyed at television monitors carrying news of the bombing in the airport terminal when a man approached her and asked if she was the owner of the New Woman All Women Health Center. Derzis answered in the affirmative. The man identified himself as an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. The ATF agent was also headed to Bir-
minghamâ€”to investigate the bombing of the health clinic Derzis owns, one of two in the city that performs abortions. A Valuable Prize On a drizzly afternoon in July 2012, reporters at the federal courthouse in downtown Jackson encircled Derzis. She was dressed in her signature white with a linen jacket draped over her shoulders like a cape, a necklace of large amber-hued stones around her neck. Fifteen minutes earlier, Derzisâ€™ attorneys had argued to federal Judge Daniel P. Jordan to set aside a state law that put new restrictions, officially speaking, on ambulatory surgical facilities that perform abortions. Known by capitol insiders by its official legislative designation that sounds like the name of an agent of biological warfare, HB 1390â€”or more simply, â€œ1390â€?â€”makes it mandatory for doctors who perform abortions at freestanding clinics to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Physicians who do fewer than 10 abortions per month in their private offices are exempt.
It took 44 days for the bill to slice through the state Legislature during the last session, from the day Republican Rep. Sam Mims introduced HB 1390 in late February to the day that crimson-clad members of Mississippiâ€™s pro-life movement flanked Gov. Phil Bryant at an official signing ceremony April 16. It was one of the first bills the first-term Republican governor signed into law. And given his cochairmanship of last fallâ€™s failed Personhood initiative that coincided with the governorâ€™s own campaign, it was perhaps a crowning achievement for conservatives in the state. But, in reality, any additional restriction heaped onto abortion clinics, no matter how minute or innocuous, would apply to only one building in Mississippi: the Jackson Womenâ€™s Health Organization off State Street in the heart of Fondren, the stateâ€™s sole remaining abortion clinic. Other than her anti-abortion opponents, her friends and reproductive-rights activists, the 58-year-old Derzis is relatively unknown to Mississippians. Even the roughly 12,000 women per year who get abortions at JWHO
Safe, But Disrespected Derzis was born and grew up in Elkton, Va., a town in the Shenandoah Valley nestled in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains. When she was in high school, a scandal rocked the tiny town when police arrested a local doctor for performing abortions for young women who traveled from the other side of the mountain from Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia. This was before abortion was legal. Derzis remembers stories about fetal skeletons excavated from the doctor’s yard. At the time, she didn’t understand what the word abortion meant. This, despite the fact that her mother, Lois Workman, was a feminist before anyone knew what a feminist was, much less the folks in Rockingham County, Va. Diane’s mother played college basketball and told her daughters to learn how to type; at that time it was a skill that would always guarantee women employment. In 1973, Diane enrolled in college 18 miles from home at James Madison University. There, she met Nick Derzis, a vacuum-cleaner salesman whose family owned restaurants in Alabama. The couple married and moved to Birmingham. Diane Derzis enrolled in classes, this time at the University of Montevallo in Alabama. Originally founded as a technical college for girls in 1896, it eventually became a state women’s college and is now coed, although its student body remains overwhelmingly female. A year after the Derzises married, she became pregnant. “It was just no question for me that that was a parasite,” Derzis said about the pregnancy. “I did not want to be pregnant. I was in college at that time. I was also waitressing, and we were young, and it was just not an option.” Abortion was legal, but abortion clinics didn’t exist, yet. She and her husband found a Birmingham doctor who would was willing to perform the procedure for $150. The people represented a cross-section of society, but one couple especially looked out of place. “They must have been in their 50s or 60s. He had
on overalls, and she had on a dress with those pantyhose that stopped at the knees. They were very working class; they looked like farmers,” Derzis recalls. When it was her turn to see the doctor, he told her, “You didn’t have any problem spreading your legs before, so spread them now.” The procedure was over in five minutes. She had mixed feelings about what she’d gone through. She was grateful that the procedure was safe, but felt disrespected. Clinics slowly began sprouting up all over the country, including in the South. When a Dr. Ralph Levinson, originally of Cumberland County, Ky., started Birmingham Women’s Health Clinic, Derzis begged him to hire her as a counselor for $5 an hour. She spent five years working there when Bob Lipton, who owned several abortion clinics on the east coast and was starting a second one in Birmingham, invited Derzis, then 23, to run it. Between the clinics, Derzis sold Mercedes-Benzes. A Mercedes owner herself, she was a natural and broke sales records. “I had a Mercedes so I knew how they drove,” Derzis explains. “Again, it’s something you believe in; you’re lucky if you find something you believe in … but that was really not my calling.”
leaving the clinic that performed she estimates performed 45,000 abortions during her tenure—16.5 times as many people currently live in her tiny Virginia hometown. “The anti-choice people would think of 45,000 babies. What I think of is 45,000 women. That’s the black and white. Right there is the answer why there can be no compromise on this issue,” she said. She accepted that the “antis,” as she calls people who consider themselves pro-life, would chalk up her retirement in May 1996 as a victory, but she said she needed some serenity. A month and half later, the owner of Birmingham Women’s Health, the clinic where she where she got her start as a teenaged counselor, sold the clinic to Derzis. By the time the clinic began operating under Derzis’ ownership that summer Summer Olympics were just getting under way in Atlanta. The Army of God Less than two years after she took over the Birmingham clinic, Derzis found herself on a plane talking to a federal law-enforcement officer about whether she had been
‘Abortion Queen’ In 1969, 21-year-old Louisiana resident Norma McCorvey tried to get an abortion in Dallas. Texas did permit women to terminate their pregnancies back then, but only if they were raped or victims of incest. With no legal way to terminate the pregnancy, McCorvey carried the child to term and gave it up for adoption after she gave birth. McCorvey is better known by the pseudonym under which she fought Texas’ abortion restrictions all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court: Jane Roe. Even though 1973’s Roe vs. Wade nullified individual state laws that proDiane Derzis owns the Jackson Women’s Health hibited abortion, the land- Organization in Fondren. Derzis became an abortion-rights mark ruling did not stop activist after having an abortion in the mid-1970s and feeling state legislatures from trying that women deserved more respect tham she received. to end abortion. In addition to directing the Summit Medical Clinic in the early 1980s, Derzis worried about any of the protesters who were went to Montgomery to lobby for pro-choice mainstays outside her clinic. It’s located just a issues and fight back attempts to roll back fed- 30-minute walk from the 16th Street Baptist eral abortion protections in Alabama, includ- Church where, in 1963, a bomb planted by ing attempts to redefine when life begins and racist extremists killed four young girls. proposals to implement parental and, in some No one protester in particular came to cases, spousal consent rules. mind as a possible culprit; any one of them That’s when she earned her nickname: could be capable of violence, she told the ATF the Abortion Queen. agent. Witnesses to the bombing told investi“I embraced it. I don’t feel any shame gators that while other people rushed toward about what I do. It’s not shame that’s associ- the clinic, a man in a brown wig, strangely, ated with what I do. It’s pride of how many darted away from the scene and hopped into a women I’ve been able to help, how many gray Nissan pickup truck. women I’ve seen where abortions made a difInvestigators said they wanted to talk to ference in their lives,” she said. Eric Rudolph, a North Carolina resident who In 1996, she announced that she was people considered a loner, because he might
have information about the attack. Indeed, Rudolph knew a lot about bombs- he’d set off four of them, including one that exploded at Centennial Park and killed 44-year-old Alice Hawthorne at the 1996 Olympics, the last time the U.S. hosted the Summer Games. Two hours after Derzis’ clinic was bombed, a Rudolph-affiliated group that called itself The Army of God sent letters to two Atlanta-area print-media outlets claiming responsibility for the attack. It vowed more violence against abortion clinics and, according to Rudolph’s federal plea bargain, “anyone associated with the drug RU-486,” otherwise known as the morning-after pill. On the day of the bombing, the area around the clinic was cordoned off, making it impossible for Derzis to get close. Instead she went to directly to the hospital to see Lyons, who would eventually lose sight in one of her eyes. The only images Derzis saw of her clinic came from the television-news satellite feeds. The exterior walls of the white-brick structure were scorched, its windows obliterated. The burgundy awnings hung off the front of the building, shredded and tattered like a battleworn flag. The device exploded with such ferocity that forensic investigators found projectiles in the procedure room, located upstairs in the rear of the building. Five years later, a police officer in Murphy, N.C., believed a burglary might be in progress when he noticed a man rummaging through the garbage behind a business. The officer arrested the suspect, who turned out to be Rudolph. He is serving four life sentences at the a federal prison in Colorado alongside other convicted high-profile convicts, including 9-11 planner Zacarias Moussaoui, Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols, underwear bomber Umar Abdulmatallub, shoe bomber Richard Reid, white supremacist Matthew Hale and other terrorists. Even though the clinic closed for repairs after the bombing, the phones still worked and patients were calling wanting appointments. Receptionists warned callers about the large number of television media still camped outside. The day the remodeled clinic reopened, the protesters also returned. Derzis didn’t lose any staff, but she heard rumors of doctors at other clinics calling it quits after the bombing. In fact, violence against abortion providers had become commonplace. Since 1978, when an Ohio clinic became the site of the nation’s first clinic bombing, more than 30 bomb attacks and around 200 arsons have occurred at U.S. abortion clinics, according to the National Abortion Federation. This total included the bombing of the Ladies Center and OB/GYN offices in Pensacola, Fla., on Christmas Day 1984. In the 1990s, attacks on property waned as abortion foes shifted their focus from the demand side of the equation and focused their attention on who they perceived to be the abortion suppliers—doctors and nurses, their associates and, in some cases, their families and children. In March 1993, an abortion doctor named George Tiller was shot in both arms in Kansas. Also in 1993, David Gunn, an Alabama resident and friend of Derzis’ was
each year likely don’t know who she is. Despite her aura of mystique, Derzis is neither quiet nor shy. In fact, she exudes every iota of toughness one would expect out of a woman of someone who’s spent three decades advocating for abortion rights in the South. Nor is she as circumspect about having been party to over 50,000 abortions in her career as a clinic director and owner. In addition to JWHO, she owns facilities in Columbus, Ga., Richmond, Va., and Birmingham. Derzis is loud, flamboyant and can be brash, making her a perfect target for the forces that wish to end the practice of abortion in America. In that battle, Mississippi represents a beachhead. With Jordan, a George W. Bush appointee, ruling that the provisions of 1390 could go into effect and ordering Derzis’ Jackson clinic to continue trying to comply with the admitting privileges law, the real possibility now exists that Mississippi could become the nation’s first state without a single abortion clinic. Based on experience, Derzis knows that the Jackson clinic is considered a valuable prize, one that abortion’s enemies will stop at nothing to capture.
more CLINIC, page 16 15
Michelle Colon (pictured) believes Diane Derzis is different from the owners of other abortion clinics because Derzis welcomes activist organizing around her clinic.
also shot to death in Pensacola. Gunnâ€™s was the first assassination of an abortion provider in the country. In 2004, Dr. John Britton, an abortion doctor who attended medical school at the University of Virginia, and his assistant, James Barnett, were murdered outside the Ladies Center, the same Pensacola clinic bombed in 1984 (it was also firebombed in 2012, but it remains open). In 2009, Tiller was murdered in Wichita.
Nancy Kohsin-Kintigh worked for the Feminist Majority Foundation in the early 90s, a time when she said abortion clinics were under siege by pro-life groups. In response to the lack of police action against flash-mobstyle demonstrations organized by anti-abortion groups such as Operation Rescue and Operation Save America that involved hundreds of protesters illegally blocking access to clinics, Kohsin-Kintighâ€™s organized clandestine
rendezvous to shuttle women to clinics. In the lexicon of military operations, Kohsin-Kintigh was the pro-choice Special Forces. Figuratively speaking, she parachuted in ahead of massive anti-abortion protests with apocalyptic-sounding code names like â€œStorming the Gates of Hellâ€? to train clinic defenders. â€œYou become accustomed to being threatened, harassed and yelled at that some point, it becomes part of your daily routine,â€? Kohsin-Kintigh said, who now does social-justice advocacy around several issues in Jackson. Ironically, Kohsin-Kintigh was attending a pro-choice conference in Chicago when she received the news that Michael Griffin had executed Dr. Gunn in Pensacola. Afterward, there was a heightened sense of danger at clinics around the country, she said. KohsinKintigh, who eventually established a base in Pensacola, and the Feminist Majority Foundation, enlisted the expertise of international security experts to perform risk assessments and conduct security trainings with clinic personnel. A law enforcement organization donated bulletproof vests and helmets for doctors. Some clinics installed bulletproof glass, metal detectors and magnetic locks. In the aftermath of the New Woman All Woman Birmingham attack, Kohsin-Kintigh helped procure replacement glass for the shattered windows and new secure locks for the doors.
â€œExtremists have dominated the language by using the term pro-life and using the Bible as a prop. So at first glance youâ€™d think they were peaceful and prayerful people, but some ugly things were coming out of their mouths, including threats,â€? she said. â€˜Youâ€™re not Christianâ€™ In 2010, Derzisâ€™ friend Susan Hill, who founded the Jackson Womens Health Organization, died of cancer. Mississippi has some of the nationâ€™s toughest abortion laws, including mandatory counseling and a 24-hour waiting period. Jacksonâ€™s other abortion clinic on Briarwood Drive closed in 2004. â€œThereâ€™s no way Iâ€™m doing Jackson,â€? Derzis told people who believed she should take over Hillâ€™s clinic. â€œI knew what she had been through there.â€? But out of a sense of duty to Hill, Derzis agreed to visit JWHO and fell in love with the clinic, its staff and the city of Jackson. â€œI feel good when I come over there, and I meet those women that come from all over and make great efforts just to exercise something that should be very easy to do, but itâ€™s not,â€? she said. Michelle Colon, a feminist and reproductive-rights organizer in Jackson, met Derzis in 2007. Colon, 37, calls Derzis an â€œanomalyâ€? among abortion providers because, unlike many clinic owners, Derzis welcomes prochoice activism.
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Colon, who came to Jackson from Chicago to attend Jackson State University in 1997, has at times been discouraged by Mississippians’ almost religious devotion to avoid talking about reproductive health at all, including abortion. That is problematic in a state with the highest rates of teen births and infant mortality in the nation, as well as disproportionately high sexually transmitted infection rates. “It’s like if you’re pro-choice, you’re not Christian,” Colon said. Still, pro-choice advocates have had victories worth celebrating, such as last year’s defeat of the Personhood Initiative, a proposed constitutional amendment to redefine life as beginning at conception, fertilization or the functional equivalent thereof. “The whole world has the image of Mississippi that (because) it’s in the Bible Belt there are no progressives here, and it’s just not true,” she said. A Surprising Defeat Last fall, opponents of the Personhood Initiative staged a late-morning demonstration on the steps of the Mississippi Capitol. It was early November, days before the statewide election. At the time, it was too close to tell whether Initiative 26—the Personhood Initiative—would be successful this time around. Personhood had already been defeated in other states, but in reliably conservative Mississippi, the purveyors of Personhood saw their best prospects for success. There was a special guest on the program whose identity remained withheld until it was her time to deliver the keynote pep speech. Derzis wore a flowing white tunic, pendant necklace and a pink visor. The Personhood effort, which would have altered the definition of a human being to begin when sperm meets egg, would have functionally outlawed abortion in Mississippi and, by extension, put Derzis out of business in Jackson. It may also have forced women to travel to other states to get abortions. Derzis said at the rally the push had been “engineered by do-gooding politicians, born-
agains and outsiders—evil people who care more about the rights of a fertilized egg than the vessel containing it,” she said. And regardless of what happened on Election Day, Derzis vowed that the women of Mississippi would have access to abortions even if she had to hire limos and private planes to shuttle them out of state. It never came to that. Sixty-eight percent of the state’s voters rejected the initiative. Following Personhood’s surprising defeat, the conventional wisdom was that a conservative lawmaker would introduce a similar bill for consideration in the 2012 legislative session. After all, the new governor, Phil Bryant, had co-chaired the Personhood Initiative campaign, and the departing governor, Haley Barbour, made waves just before the election by saying the issue was best left up to the state Legislature, which Republicans controlled as of the last session. There was no personhood bill but two other anti-abortion bills did survive. One controversial measure required doctors to check for a fetal heartbeat, which would have required an invasive procedure called a transvaginal ultrasound in the early weeks of a pregnancy. The other was HB 1390, the admitting-privileges bill. During the debate in the House, Mims, who sponsored 1390, acknowledged that, if passed, the law would apply only to Jackson Women’s Health, Derzis’ clinic. When pressed by the bill’s Democratic opponents, Mims said he believes life starts at conception and that the bill “makes it a little step harder” to have an abortion, which, he argued, could save a life. However, the Democratic women of Hinds County’s delegation were not interested in making things easy for Mims. Rep. Alyce Clarke, D-Jackson, requested that only individuals capable of having an abortion be allowed to vote on the bill. Rep. Adrienne Wooten, D-Ridgeland, noted that women with the option to terminate an unwanted pregnancy were less likely to end up on state welfare rolls. Rep. David Baria, a Democrat from Bay St. Louis, took a shot at Barbour, who stirred
doctors offices?” she snapped. By nightfall, the reporter broke a story with headlines referring to botched abortions at Derzis’ clinic. After a three-month-long probe into the incident, Derzis said the state health department made 5,800 copies of documents on the clinic’s copier and, ultimately, issued 76 pages worth of deficiencies. “The way they wrote it up made it sound like I picked up two guys off the street: My doctors didn’t write legibly, my doctors didn’t initial things. I’m telling you, it was a witch hunt,” Derzis said. The health department’s order revoking the clinic’s license allows for a new operator to take over, so Derzis arranged to lease the business to an associate, Kelley Rain-Water. The state rejected Rain-Water’s application because of her ties to Derzis, who said they’ll pursue the matter in circuit court if the state rejects Rain-Water’s appeal. What infuriated Derzis most was the fact that anti-choice protesters distributed photographs of the two sick women and the emergency medical technicians who transported them to the hospital. Terri Herring, a Mississippi pro-life lobbyist, supported the passage of the admitting privileges law. She believes the troubles at Derzis’ Alabama clinic portend similar problems in Jackson. “She keeps saying no one has been injured in her clinic in Mississippi. She
Falling Apart While facing the prospect of losing the Jackson clinic, Derzis’ Birmingham clinic received an enormous Nancy Kohsin-Kintigh trained abortion clinic defenders the 90s when she says the facilities were under siege blow. In May, Alabama state during from massive pro-life demonstrations. health officials forced New Woman All Women to close over regulatory violations. As Derzis explains has only been open a short time here, so are it, the clinic’s Atlanta-based medical director, we going to wait for injuries to put them into who also performed abortions, quit shortly compliance?” Herring wrote in an emailed after the first of the year, and Derzis replaced statement to the Jackson Free Press. She dehim with two doctors from out of state. clined an interview for this story. Under Alabama law, the medical direcHerring said the black plastic tarp draped tor is required to observe doctors performing around the clinic perimeter is evidence that abortions. “Well, clearly, I wasn’t even think- JWHO is a “back alley clinic” and a “house ing about that at the time,” Derzis said. of horrors.” JWHO administrator Shannon Then, on Jan. 21, Derzis said a new nurse Brewer explained that Derzis put up the plasoverdosed two patients who had to be rushed tic sheeting to protect patient privacy and preto the hospital. Later that afternoon, a reporter vent protestors from reaching through the iron called about reports of an ambulance in front of the clinic. “When the hell did you start callmore CLINIC, page 18 17 ing about ambulances in front of clinics or jacksonfreepress.com
Furnished with leather sofas and chairs, the lobby of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization looks like a typical doctor’s office.
a maelstrom of controversy by granting more than 200 pardons before he left office. If HB 1390 passed, Baria asked, “What options are there for a woman who gets raped by one of these convicts Gov. Barbour just turned loose?” A bizarre set of circumstances followed in the Senate. Tate Reeves, the new lieutenant governor and a rising star in the state’s GOP, assigned HB 1390 to the Public Health and Welfare Committee, chaired by Dean Kirby, R-Pearl. Reeves placed other conservative showpieces—the heartbeat bill and a tough immigration reform bill—in the hands of Amory Democrat Hob Bryan, chairman of the Judiciary B Committee. At the April 3 Judiciary B meeting, Bryan did as expected and declined to bring either the ultrasound or the immigration bills up for a vote. Bryan questioned the bills’ constitutionality and believed that the state would immediately face a lawsuit if it passed. When Jud B adjourned, the Public Health Committee met one floor down to consider HB 1390. Brown, the chairman, moved that the bill move onto the full Senate; the motion was seconded. Democrats on the committee didn’t make a peep, prompting groans from pro-choice activists—including Kohsin-Kintigh and Colon—and then-director of the Mississippi ACLU Nsombi Lambright. Outside the committee room, Lambright buttonholed Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones, a Democrat from Canton with the physique of an NFL tight end, on why he and other Democrats didn’t raise any objections. Jones promised they would fight it on the floor. On April 16, Gov. Bryant signed HB 1390 into law. It would take effect on the first day of the new fiscal year, July 1.
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A look inside one of the rooms of the Jackson Womenâ€™s Health Organization.
fence to distribute literature to patients. Upon entering the clinic, visitors encounter a sign on the front door that reads: â€œNo bags, purses or children allowed in this facility.â€? Natural light fills the waiting area, which is furnished with dark red leather sofas and chairs. Copies of O Magazine, Essence, Glamour, Cigar Aficionado and tall, ceramic bowls filled with condoms adorn the coffee tables. After assuming ownership of the clinic, Derzis ordered extensive remodeling, covering up the beige walls with soft yellow and lavender paint. Before Derzis took over, Brewer wasnâ€™t involved with the politicsâ€”Dr. Hill and her attorneys handled thatâ€”but Derzis inspired her to increase her activism around reproductive rights. A Jackson resident, Brewer started at the clinic part-time in 2001 while she studied business management at Virginia College, but says the clinic has afforded her different kind of education. Brewer prefers to not to engage directly with news media, but maintains extensive knowledge of health department regulations pertaining to abortion clinics, security and wrangling protestors. Case in point: A copy of the federal restraining order against anti-abortion activist Roy McMillan sits on Brewerâ€™s desk. In 1995, a federal court ordered McMillan to stay 50 feet away from the clinic for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, enacted in 1994 after Dr. Gunnâ€™s murder in Pensacola. According to court records, on May 3, 1995, McMillan made his hand into the shape of a gun and told clinic employees: â€œYâ€™all look like a bunch of birds on a telephone wire waiting to be shot off by a man with a shotgunâ€ŚPow, pow, pow, pow.â€? McMillan pickets the clinic each day they see patients by displaying signs that carry pictures of fetuses and messages equating abortion to genocide. He and his wife, Beverly, an OB/GYN and former abortion doctor, also oppose all hormonal birth control including the pill and the morning-after pill. Brewer said the biggest scare theyâ€™ve had involved a large dark-colored duffel bag left at the clinicâ€™s back door in 2009. Police evacuated the area, and the bomb squad blew it up; later, Brewer said, they found that the bag belonged to a homeless man who didnâ€™t want to carry it across town to a doctorâ€™s appointment.
Derzis calls McMillan a â€œloose cannonâ€? but isnâ€™t sure if heâ€™s violent. After all, she notes, Eric Rudolph was not a regular protester at the Birmingham clinic. Derzis, who carries a .25-caliber pistol and several Tasers, maintains surprisingly good humored about the threats she and her staff face. â€œThereâ€™s really not any reason right now for them to kill anybodyâ€”because theyâ€™re winning,â€? she said, with a deep laugh. Sheâ€™s referring to statesâ€™ recent successes in making life difficult for abortion clinics through regulations instead of outlawing the practice, which the courts have ruled is unconstitutional. Twenty states have passed laws requiring tighter regulations on abortion facilities and doctors. A similar law to HB 1390 passed in Indiana last year, and Tennessee lawmakers are considering a bill that would require physicians who perform abortions to have hospital privileges in either the home or adjacent county of the woman seeking an abortion. The experience of other states that passed abortion regulations demonstrate how costly the fights can be. Kansas spent $400,000 over a six-month period in 2011 defending abortion restrictions; more than half that sum went to pay private attorneys. Two anti-abortion laws in South Dakota over a 10-year period resulted in $623,000 in payments to Planned Parenthood, the plaintiff in both cases. South Dakota also passed a law requiring a three-day waiting period for an abortion in March 2011, which triggered a lawsuit that the stateâ€™s Legislative Research Council estimated could cost as much as $4 million to fight. Word on whether any of the seven applications JWHO has made to area hospitals is expected any day now, but no matter what happens with the applications, neither side is likely to give up its battle. For Brewer, she said itâ€™s inconceivable that the clinic would ever close and that she doesnâ€™t think much about the possibility that JWHO will meet the same fate as Derzisâ€™ Birmingham facility. â€œI know Diane will be fighting to the last day,â€? Brewer said. â€œShe is not one to give up. As long as she doesnâ€™t, Iâ€™m going to be there beside her.â€? Comment at www.jfp.ms and view a gallery from inside the clinic at jfp.ms/clinic. Email R.L. Nave at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ARTS p 20 | 8 DAYS p 24 | FILM p 27 |MUSIC p 28 | SPORTS p 37
A Taste of Mississippi by Shameka Hayes
Jackson celebrates the culinary and musical traditions of the Delta with the upcoming Southern Crossroads Music and Tamale Festival.
nytime food inspires music such as Moses Mason’s “Molly Man” or Robert Johnson’s “They’re Red Hot,” you can guarantee you’re in for a treat. That’s exactly what visitors to the first Southern Crossroads Music and Tamale Festival are going to get. Tamales have been around since about 5,000 B.C. and have been a part of Mississippi, particularly The Delta, since the 20th century. Its seems only right then that someone would birth the idea of a festival in their honor. Traditionally, a tamale consists of a dough, usually corn based, called masa, filled with meat, vegetables, chilies or other ingredients. The tamale is enclosed in a leaf wrapper and boiled or steamed. Over the years, different regions, restaurants and chefs have put their individual
stamp on the tamale, resulting in a wide variety of styles. At first a dish most people associate with Mexico or Latin America might seem out of place in Mississippi, but a marker on the Blues Trail in Rosedale states, “Hot tamales may seem an odd food to encounter in the Mississippi Delta, but their presence reflects the region’s cultural diversity. Hundreds of years ago local Native Americans prepared a tamale-like dish of maize cooked in cornhusks, and in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, culinary traditions of Anglo- and AfricanAmericans in the Delta were complemented by the foodways of new immigrants of Lebanese, Chinese and Italian origin. By the 1920s many African-American agricultural workers had left the Delta for points north, and planters responded by recruiting Mexican laborers, who generally stayed only through the harvesting season.” That marker and others can be read at msbluestrail.org. The festival is Aug. 10 and 11 at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds. The brain-
child of Pat LeBlanc, host of the syndicated radio show Southern Crossroads on WYAB 103.9, the festival will be the first of its kind in Jackson. “This is going to be a great opportunity for people to have access to great music, southern food and amazing artists all in one place for a really affordable price,” says Marika Cackett, manager of communications and public relations for the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau, who also is a freelance writer for the Jackson Free Press. “Besides, you can’t beat being indoors in August.” Musical acts will include War, Steve Azar, Hope Waits, Marc Broussard and Eric Lindell. Ellen Langford, Price Davis, Vintage Jen and other painters, sculptors, wood carvers and photographers will perform and create in real time. Spectators will have the opportunity to not only observe, but to participate in the exhibits. Visitors will have to experience and celebrate Mississippi’s amazing culinary history at the festival as well. Vendors from all over
Mississippi and surrounding areas will serve their best tamale recipes—from the original leaf-wrapped masa version, to the dessert-style sweet potato tamale. A catfish tamale will even be available. “I want people to come and experience great music, food, and drink, indoors and at an affordable price … to experience the many flavors of Mississippi,” LeBlanc says. “I grew up in the Delta around many different ethnic groups, from Chinese to Mexican, to African American, and I’m white, so I know the fusion that takes place not only in our cultures, but in our music, and in our foods. Even though the festival will be indoors, it will have an outdoors feel that I hope the people will enjoy.” General admission for the festival is $25 per day or $48 for a weekend pass. Tickets are available on ticketmaster.com and at the Mississippi Coliseum Box Office. For more information about the festival, visit tamalefest.com, or to read more about the history of the tamale in Mississippi and its ties to the culture and music, 19 visit tamaletrail.com. jacksonfreepress.com
“Two for a nickel, four for a dime, thirty cents a dozen, and you’ll sure eat fine ...” —Moses Mason
Storytellers Bring the Blues by Aaron Cooper
few things are distinct to Mississippi culture: We deal with the heat by complaining about it. We like a little tea with our sugar. We quote the Bible ... a lot. And we claim a music that we have buried deep, deep in our soulsâ€”the blues. That music is the theme of the Greater
Artist Sharon McConnell Dickerson sits among her â€œCast of Blues,â€? an exhibit at this yearâ€™s Storytellers Ball.
Jackson Arts Councilâ€™s seventh annual Storytellers Ball, â€œBlame it on the Bluesâ€? set for Aug. 9, at the Arts Center of Mississippi. â€œThis
is our annual fundraiser, and a kick-off to the annual arts season,â€? GJAC Executive Director Janet Scott says. â€œPlus, it just happens to be one of the best parties of the yearâ€”fun, diverse and full of amazing music.â€? Organizers want guests to get caught up in back-porch blues singing and swaying to the rhythm. â€œThis year is about celebrating one of Mississippiâ€™s greatest gifts to the world, blues, and its effects on art and people,â€? Charles Smith, the operations manager for the GJAC, says. â€œWe are turning the arts center into a juke joint with upbeat music and dĂŠcor that capture what blues is all about.â€? This yearâ€™s honorees are Bobby Rush and Dorothy Moore. The ball will include an exhibit of Sharon McConnell Dickersonâ€™s â€œA Cast of Bluesâ€? and Sandra Murchisonâ€™s â€œBlues Trail.â€? H.C. Porterâ€™s photography â€œBlues @ Homeâ€? will hang from July 17 through Aug. 31 in the Arts Center. Tickets for â€œBlame It on The Bluesâ€? are $50 by reservation at 601-960-1557 or advance purchase at jacksonartscouncil.tix.com and 1-800595-4TIX. The event is 6:30-11 p.m. on Aug. 9.
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BEST BETS August 1 - 8, 2012 by Latasha Willis firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 601-510-9019 Daily updates at jfpevents.com
Frames are the focus of this month’s exhibit at Brown’s Fine Art (630 Fondren Place.). Free; call 601-982-8444. … Author John Pritchard speaks during “History Is Lunch” at noon at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building (200 North St.). Bring lunch; call 601-576-6998. … The Storytellers Ball Juried Exhibition at the Arts Center of Mississippi (201 E. Pascagoula St.) hangs through Aug. 31. Free; call 601-960-1557. … Jason Bailey and Bryan Shaw perform at Fenian’s. … See the film “A Birthday Celebration: The Grateful Dead Movie Event” at 7 p.m. at Tinseltown (411 Riverwind Drive, Pearl). $11.50, $10.50 seniors and students, $9.50 children; call 601-936-5856. … Jesse “Guitar” Smith is at Burgers & Blues. … Bill and Temperance play at Underground 119. … Soul Wired Cafe hosts B. Social at 8 p.m. Free.
The Mississippi Wildlife Extravaganza begins at 3 p.m. at the Mississippi Trade Mart (1200 Mississippi St.) and runs through Aug. 5. Kids 12 and under get in free today. $10, $20 weekend pass, $5 ages 6-12, ages 5 and under free; call 601605-1790. … The Molly Ringwalds and DJ Young Venom perform at 9 p.m. at Hal & Mal’s. $15 in advance, $20 at the door; call 601-292-7121 or 800-745-3000. … Blue Mountain performs at Ole Tavern. … First Friday is at 9 p.m. at the Martini Room. … The Smooth Funk Band plays at Soul Wired Cafe. Free before midnight. … Dylan Moss is at Club Magoo’s. … Greg Ginn of Black Flag and Argiflex perform at Morningbell Records. … Trademark plays at Reed Pierce’s.
Kingdom Curls hosts the Afro Southern Classic at 9 a.m. at Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center (528 Bloom St.). The natural hair event includes workshops, a fashion show and after-party. $20, $35 VIP, $15 fashion show only; call 855-688-8724; kingdomcurls.org. … The First Day Back to School Celebration and Supply Giveaway is from 26 p.m. at the Jackson Convention Complex. Free; call 601960-1084 or 601-960-2378. … The MIRS Steak Championship kicks off at 10 a.m. at Burgers & Blues. Judges include WLBT meteorologist Barbie Bassett and Jay White from Mississippi Sports This Morning (620 AM). $50 team entry fee; call 601-899-0038 to register. … Carter Fest is at 2 p.m. at The Carter. Performers include Bad Advice, Daggers, Ill Ways, Shark Bait and Tiebreaker. $10; call 863-9516; lostlegendent. com. … The Mississippi Chorus Summer Showcase is from 6-9:30 p.m. at Union Station (300 W. Capitol St.), at the train depot ballroom. Marta Szlubowska, Harlan Zackery, Rachel Alexander and more perform. $35 per person, $75-$300 reserved tables (up to eight); call 601-278-3351. … The roller derby bout between the Magnolia Roller Vixens and the Mississippi Rollergirls is at 7 p.m. at Jackson Convention Complex (105 E. Pascagoula St.). $12 in advance, $15 at the door, $5 children; call 960-2321; email info@magnoliarollervixens. com. … Comedians Henry Cho and John Reep perform durComedian Henry Cho performs at the annual Laugh Away SMA fundraiser Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. at Hinds Community College, Rankin Campus.
August 1 - 7, 2012
The Jackson Technology and Startup Meetup is at 6 p.m. at Millsaps College (1701 N. State St.), in the skybox of the HAC Athletic Center. Free; call 601-919-5265; find the Jackson Tech Startup Group on meetup.com. … Fondren After 5 is from 5-8 p.m. Call 601-981-9606; fondren.org. … Beatin’ the Blues with NAMI Mississippi is at 6 p.m. at Hal & Mal’s. The Mississippi Go Band performs. Proceeds benefit NAMI Mississippi, a local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. $60, $100 couples; call 601-899-9058. … Jimmy “Duck” Holmes performs at Fondren Art Gallery (601 Duling Ave.) from 6-8:30 p.m. Free; call 601-981-9222. … The Jackson Art Movement’s art show is from 7-9 p.m. at The Commons (719 N. Congress St.). Free; email jacksonartmovement@ 24 gmail.com. … Dreamz JXN hosts Throwback Thursday.
The Mississippi Old Time Music Society performs from 1:30-4:30 p.m. at Clinton Visitor Center (1300 Pinehaven Road, Clinton). Free; call 601-919-3571; email email@example.com.
Paul Buford’s watercolor exhibit at Fitness Lady North (331 Sunnybrook Road, Ridgeland) hangs through Aug. 8. Free; call 601-354-0066 or 601-856-0535 Soul Wired Cafe hosts MayHAM Monday/Alternative Night. $3.
Fondren Theatre Workshop Playwright Night is at 6 p.m. at Brent’s Diner and Soda Fountain (655 Duling Ave.). Food prices vary; call 601-301-2281; fondrentheatreworkshop.com. … Jesse Robinson performs at Underground 119. $5.
At R.G. Bolden/Anne Bell-Moore Public Library (1444 Wiggins Road) from 3:30-5:30 p.m., author E.V. Adams signs copies of “Nikki Darling” ($15), and authors Darlene Collier and Meredith McGee sign copies of “Married to Sin” ($12.62). Readings and Q&A included. Call 601-9226076. … Rapper Big K.R.I.T. performs at 7 p.m. at Hal & Mal’s. Casey Veggies, Tito Lopez, Big Sant and Kamikaze also perform. $20-$22; lostlegendent.com. More at jfpevents.com and jfp.ms/musicvenues.
Local rapper, activist and JFP columnist Kamikaze performs at the Big K.R.I.T. concert Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. at Hal & Mal’s. WILLIAM PATRICK BUTLER
ing the Laugh Away SMA comedy show at 7 p.m. at Hinds Community College, Rankin Campus (3805 Highway 80 E., Pearl) at the Clyde Muse Center. Proceeds benefit Stop SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy). $30; call 601-932-5237; laughawaysma.org.
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