Jackson community members gather for a Mississippi Today discussion event to share thoughts, opinions and ideas regarding issues plaguing the city and legislative responses to those issues in Jackson on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

A panel of young Jacksonians at a Thursday evening event urged state leaders to work with Jackson’s local and legislative elected officials — not against them — to find solutions to crime and water problems.

The event, hosted Mississippi Today at Urban Foxes in Belhaven Heights, brought together more than 100 people — political leaders, business owners and everyday Jacksonians — who are concerned about state leaders’ efforts to create a new Jackson judicial and police system and take over the city’s troubled water system. The takeover bills have become subject to intense statewide and national scrutiny, and tensions are historically high between city and state leaders.

READ MORE: ‘Only in Mississippi’: White representatives vote to create white-appointed court system for Blackest city in America

At the event, Mississippi Today Editor-in-Chief Adam Ganucheau hosted a Q&A with state Rep. Ronnie Crudup Jr., who encouraged attendees to “not give up” and “find a way to get involved in the fight.”

Then Mississippi Today Managing Editor Kayleigh Skinner moderated a panel featuring Jackson community builder and entrepreneur Ashlee Kelly, advocacy coordinator at OneVoiceMS Courtney Body, and Hunter Evans, chef and owner of Elvie’s. All the panelists agreed that the best way to address the city’s crime and water problems would be for local and state leaders to work together.

The event was hosted at Urban Foxes, a coffee shop in Belhaven Heights neighborhood of Jackson. Music was provided by Jackson DJ Daddy Bug.

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