Jackson’s Water Issues Has Been Toxic For Black-led Businesses

By Stephone Coward

  • Restaurants in Jackson, MS are spending $500 – $700 a day on ice and bottled water due to the crisis
  • Jackson, MS has an 80% Black population with lost tax revenue leaving them unable to afford a billion dollar water system upgrade

Jackson, Mississippi, has a problem, decades of neglect and racist behavior has left the largest city in the state with an infrastructure crisis that is disproportionately impacting, yup you guessed it, Black communities and businesses. This avoidable crisis is hitting Black-owned businesses the hardest. The lack of access to clean water has caused some restaurants to spend $500-$700 a day on ice and bottled water, in addition to businesses having to spend about $5,000 a week on renting portable toilets.

Why This Matters: Jackson’s water crisis has caused people to go without the basic necessities for survival. The AP has reported that the water crisis has compounded the financial strain caused by an ongoing labor shortage and high inflation. Access to clean water is a right, not a privilege. Anything that we need to survive should be not be encumbered by politics, discrimination or racism.  

The tragedy is that business insurance may not cover for the loss of customers and revenue. Andy Case, Mississippi’s Insurance department consumer said in a statement that “For business interruption to be covered, it must be due to a covered cause of loss. Under a commercial business policy, that means there must be physical damage to the business from a covered cause of loss.”

Michael Regan, the administrator of the EPA said “The people of Jackson, Mississippi, have lacked access to safe and reliable water for decades,”. Being under a water crisis should not be as normal as Saturday, turning into Sunday, and 150,000+ residents deserve that this  should be approached with the urgency that it deserves. No city should experience this, certainly not the Capital City of the state”.

Situational Awareness: The ‘White Flight’ from Jackson,MS began after public school integration in the 70s and has only exacerbated this issue. As they fled the city for the suburbs, the city lost tax revenue and the ability to finance infrastructure projects. With an 80% Black population in the city, the lack of funding to afford a billion dollar system upgrade to address the water situation went unfunded.

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Stephone Coward

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