In 2018, the organizing work of Working Together Jackson grew significantly grew beyond Jackson into other parts of the state, and was the genesis of what would become Working Together Mississippi.
Currently, Working Together Mississippi is focused on three issues, which broadly center under the topics of Education, Healthcare, and Immigration.
Working Together Mississippi, in partnership with Parents for Public Schools (PPS), has focused on voter education, get-out-the-vote work, and building a constituency in support for public education. Our agenda included full funding for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program and opposition to privatization schemes.
Our biggest success is our work in the Mississippi Delta where we were able to develop relationships with two new Senators who have pledged to fully support our education strategy. These commitments were made in public gatherings where the new Senators committed to working with PPS and Working Together Mississippi.
Working Together Mississippi is building a constituency for increasing access to quality affordable healthcare in Mississippi (which has never been done before in Mississippi).
Access to healthcare has been politicized to the point that our political leadership has refused to take advantage of the federal programs that would allow 300,000 Mississippians currently lacking health insurance to receive coverage and would help Mississippi hospitals reduce the cost of uncompensated care that currently runs $660 million per year.
We are engaged in a multi-year effort to build a constituency for increasing access to healthcare by using federal funds available from the Affordable Care Act. 90% of these funds will come from the federal government and the 10% required match will be funded by a self-tax paid by hospitals in Mississippi. This proposal is similar to the plan implemented in Indiana when Former Vice President Mike Pence was Governor.
We are taking the following steps toward building the support for these critical changes that would create 19,000 new jobs, save 22 hospitals on the verge of bankruptcy, generate $1 billion a year in economic activity in the state and produce $50 to $100 million in new tax revenue:
- Over 300 Clergy and growing have signed a letter of support for this proposal.
- We are conducting Civic Academies around the state training a minimum of 500 lay leaders who will be able to educate other voters and their legislators on the issues at stake for our health, our communities and the future of our healthcare system.
Since August 7, 2019, Working Together Mississippi has been providing support at five different sites that were impacted by the largest ICE raids in history. We have established five comites in each site, with an average membership of a dozen immigrant leaders, and has provided training on the skills of relational organizing that aid in building an immigrant-led response to the raids. WTM is driving this new Mississippi Immigrants Movement beyond the immediate disaster relief response into deep institutional organizing.