It is not news that Mississippi is experiencing desperate times. As of December 14, 2020, 4,204 Mississippians have died from COVID 19; State hospital ICUs are full; the virus is rampant with 181,095 COVID cases and 1,164 hospitalized COVID-confirmed patients; 61 counties have mask mandates; hundreds of thousands of Mississippians have lost jobs, many receiving unemployment insurance; 359,000 Mississippians lack health insurance; roughly 352,000 renters in Mississippi face eviction January 1 without congressional assistance; hundreds of Mississippi’s small businesses have closed since March; more than 712,800 (24.1%) of Mississippians are food insecure; and 23,000 fewer school-aged children are enrolled in Mississippi’s public schools.

Being 50th is not new for Mississippi, but in 2020 existing and wide-ranging deficiencies have been amplified. Mississippians in all walks of life, in long term care facilities, in prisons, in schools, in hospitals and clinics and in everyday life long for relief.

In the same week that Americans rejoiced about the FDA’s granting Pfizer’s COVID vaccine emergency use, signaling the beginning of virus relief, Mississippians also witnessed an unprecedented failure of leadership by their elected officials. Across North Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District, voters of all political persuasions elected Representative Trent Kelly and AG Lynn Fitch. Representative Kelly and General Fitch, voters did not elect you to waste time and Mississippi’s money, to betray our trust and your oaths of office, or to subvert millions of votes, predominantly minority votes, in a political act of fealty, a political stunt.

And, Senators Wicker and Hyde-Smith, you, by tacitly approving last week’s stab at democracy, also failed our State. Mississippi desperately needs multiple stimulus packages, now and in 2021. Mississippians are starving and dying. Mississippians voted for leadership to raise us from the bottom of every published category measuring our welfare and quality of life. We expect you to represent all Mississippians.

We will remember in 2022 and 2024. We will build coalitions, call, protest and continue demanding just and honest service from you. Now, we plead to your better angels and urge you. Do the job we elected you to do! Focus on the welfare of Mississippians – NOW!

Pastor Charles Moore, Bishop Clarence Parks, Rev. Jeffrey Gladney, Rev. James Hull and Indivisible NEMS

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