‘It’s critical that we create a dignity economy’: Lumumba sworn in as mayor
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Before hundreds of people, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba is sworn in as mayor of Jackson, the first mayor in 20 years to be re-elected to a second term.
“The residents of Jackson have entrusted me with this rare privilege twice. Thank you,” Lumumba said after accepting the oath of office.
Lumumba began by extending his gratitude to God, his ‘beautiful bride,’ first lady Ebony Lumumba, his family, the city council, other workers, and guests.
Jackson’s new mayor talked about his accomplishments over the last four years.
“Collectively, we have claimed victories like saving our schools, paving more roads in the past four years than the previous ten years combined, we have prevailed in the largest settlement in our city’s history,” he said, before noting the low’s the city has faced, including “a 30-year flood, violent tornado, three debilitating storms, a pandemic, and a sharp rise in gun violence.”
Lumumba said he took over a city in crisis, and while many challenges remain, he’s looking forward to the future.
“The measure of our success will be less about the things that we see are wrong and more about what we are doing to impact those things that we know to be wrong,” he said.
The mayor’s remarks also emphasized unity among leaders and a new way of thinking to help build Jackson.
“It is critical that we create a dignity economy that reflects the inherent dignity of every person and one that recognizes the value of investing in people,” Lumumba said.
Members of the city council took their oath of office, including Councilman Ashby Foote, Councilwoman Angelique Lee, Councilman Kenneth Stokes, Councilman Bryan Grizzell, Councilman Vernon Watley Sr., Councilman Aaron Banks, and Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay.
Hinds County Chancery Court Judge Denise Sweet Owens even asked the audience to repeat after her in an uncommon citizen’s oath of office.
“I, state your name,” Owens said to the crowd with a smile. “Do solemnly affirm that I will faithfully support the city of Jackson, Mississippi,” Owens led the group.
The ceremony also included an invocation, jazz musicians, an opera singer, and special remarks from Rena Everett Evers, the daughter of late civil rights icon Medgar Wiley Evers.
Evers said the citizens of Jackson are the backbone of the city and the source from which its power comes. She encouraged everyone in attendance to be courageous despite the pandemic.
“We begin anew, but we begin with a fresh approach to life’s challenges, unfavorable conditions, and uncertainty of global deadly viruses,” Evers said. “We must take the time to reflect and acknowledge the positive achievements, small and large.”
Former agriculture secretary Mike Espy also energized the crowd, welcomed state leaders, and encouraged Lumumba to stay encouraged.
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