Almost 49 percent of African American children in Mississippi are poor, or live on an income of 20 thousand dollars a year or less for a family of four. “The last census data indicates that we’re having more and more children actually, more children than in any time in our history in poverty. And more families are sinking into the level of poverty every day,” said Oleta Garrett Fitzgerald, Director of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Southern Regional Office.
Click here to view a clip from the Medgar Evers, Ella Baker Civil Rights lecture series with the Jackson State Fannie Lou Hamer Institute.
Too many youth are lost each year when they drop out of school without completing a high school education. They are destined for lifelong poverty and difficulty if they are unable to complete their education and acquire the skills and knowledge that will enable them to work and have a meaningful career. Communities will suffer tremendously if this problem is not addressed – they will lose a significant amount of human capital, and will face rising costs in public services to meet the needs of an uneducated population. Young people, particularly those in low-income communities must overcome many hurdles to be successful, including the conditions of their schools and neighborhoods. Communities must band together to figure out how to systemically deal with these issues – such as failing schools, family poverty, unemployment, and youth violence – so that youth can be successful. By using data to guide the planning and use of resources, communities can create sustainable solutions that will help to keep youth on the path to success in school and in life.
Read more about this issue in the August 2011 article from CLASP, Keeping Youth Connected: Focus on Jackson.