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Jackson receives $475k grant to combat climate change in poor communities

Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 6:17 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has announced that the city has received a $475,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help mitigate the effects of climate change on poor communities.

The mayor made the announcement at a press conference on Monday. It was one of several partnerships the city has entered into recently to improve the quality of life for all residents.

“Healthy citizens is the first goal of our dignity economy strategic plan that you have heard about on so many occasions,” he said. “With this grant and project, we reaffirm our commitment to reducing health vulnerabilities in the city of Jackson.”

The grant, which is being awarded to the city along with 2ºC Mississippi and the National League of Cities, will be used to help “adopt a nature-based solution” to help combat the effects of extreme heat in poorer communities.

“Extreme heat is not an equal opportunity threat,” the mayor said. “We have looked toward this grant in order to do heat mapping across our city, so we can mitigate where there is a disproportionate effect among our communities of Jackson.

“This disproportion affects people of color, young children, elderly, socially isolated individuals and people with chronic health conditions or limited mobility,” he said.

Lumumba discussed the grant at a previous council meeting. He said some residents have fewer resources to combat the heat, such as access to day shelters, making them more susceptible to heat-related illness.

“This is something that is becoming universally recognized,” the mayor said at the time. “We have to be prepared for this here, too.”

The mayor announced other partnerships as well, including one with the National Fitness Campaign and one with the Surdna Foundation.

Through the National Fitness Campaign, the city will see the installation of a new Keith Haring Fitness Court at North State Street and Woodrow Wilson Avenue.

The mayor said the court would provide a great recreational opportunity for people visiting loved ones at Blair E. Batson Hospital and other nearby medical facilities.

Lumumba also touted the $1.2 million grant received from Surdna, which will fund the “Live. Impact. Create. Initiative.”

“It’s geared toward empowering people of color to use their artistry and voice to address social justice radically through the arts,” Lumumba said.

Seven fellows were recently chosen for the 2021 program. Each will receive $25,000 to spearhead projects across the community.

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