The Mississippi Rapid Response Coalition and the Poor People’s Campaign held a march on Monday to protest the ongoing water crisis in Jackson.

Attendees began their march near the Old Mt. Helm Baptist Church and ended on Capitol Street with a “Moral Monday” rally outside of the Governor’s Mansion. The rally was attended by over 100 people calling for clean water in the city, and to keep it a public service instead of having the water system privatized by the state.

Deneka Samuel, a south Jackson resident and mother of six children, wiped away tears as she told the crowd about her family’s experience.

“I never thought that in this lifetime that I would have to go and fetch water, dip water out of a barrel,” she said. “It’s a constant struggle each and every day. I have to keep reminding my younger kids to not drink out of that faucet.” 

More than 150,000 people have been affected by the ongoing issue. On Monday, Jackson Mayor Choke Anwar Antar Lumumba met with the Environmental Protection Agency to discuss the next steps for the water system. 

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Eric J. Shelton was a 2018 corps member in Report for America, and joined the team as our first photojournalist. A native of Columbia, Miss., Eric earned his bachelor’s in photojournalism from the University of Southern Mississippi. He was a multimedia journalist for Abilene Reporter-News, chief photographer for the Hattiesburg American and photo editor for the Killeen Daily Herald before joining our team June 2018. He rejoined Mississippi Today as our health photojournalist in January 2022.