Jackson, Mississippi, remains gripped in an ongoing water crisis. The task of distributing water to local residents has been largely taken up by community organizations like Cooperation Jackson and Operation Good. Organizer, writer, and educator Kali Akuno joins The Marc Steiner Show to explain how the current crisis is a reflection of capitalism’s failures and decades of institutional racism. Though Jackson today is more than 80% Black, this is a recent demographic development created by white flight and capital flight from the city. The state’s prolonged neglect of Jackson’s infrastructure is a consequence of an entrenched far-right politics in Mississippi’s public institutions. And what’s happening currently in Jackson is a sign of things to come around the country. To fight back, Akuno emphasizes the need to build mass movements and grassroots networks capable of exercising real political power.

Kali Akuno is a co-founder and co-director of Cooperation Jackson, and an organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM). Formerly, he served as the coordinator of special projects and external funding for the late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba in Jackson, Mississippi. Akuno is the author of “Let Your Motto be Resistance,” and co-author of “Operation Ghetto Storm” and “Every 36 Hours: Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of 120 Black People.”

Post-Production: Stephen Frank


The transcript of this podcast will be made available as soon as possible.

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Host, The Marc Steiner Show
Marc Steiner is the host of "The Marc Steiner Show" on TRNN. He is a Peabody Award-winning journalist who has spent his life working on social justice issues. He walked his first picket line at age 13, and at age 16 became the youngest person in Maryland arrested at a civil rights protest during the Freedom Rides through Cambridge. As part of the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968, Marc helped organize poor white communities with the Young Patriots, the white Appalachian counterpart to the Black Panthers. Early in his career he counseled at-risk youth in therapeutic settings and founded a theater program in the Maryland State prison system. He also taught theater for 10 years at the Baltimore School for the Arts. From 1993-2018 Marc's signature “Marc Steiner Show” aired on Baltimore’s public radio airwaves, both WYPR—which Marc co-founded—and Morgan State University’s WEAA.