Students and staff from Philadelphia, PA come to Capital City to help residents through water crisis

Published: Oct. 23, 2022 at 10:58 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Jackson water crisis garnered the attention of a high school over a thousand miles away.

Students and staff with Imhotep Institute Charter High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are in the Capital City this weekend, helping residents who are still facing challenges.

It comes as tensions rise between Jackson’s mayor and the governor.

One resident said he wishes the two would do what these students from Philadelphia are doing, working together for the common good.

“I don’t want to have to see people struggling, and they clearly need help,” Lead Stem Ambassador Montrell Ervin Jr. said.

As boil water notices continue to come and go for some Jackson residents, students from Imhotep Institute Charter High School say they feel their pain - even from Philadelphia.

“These are people who look like me, these are people who breathe the same oxygen that I breathe, and bleed the same way I bleed,” Stem Ambassador Mousa Wilson said. “I just wanted to help them out.”

The students used 3D printers to make water filters and then gave them to residents in need at the Jackson Free Clinic’s Fall Wellness Fair Sunday.

The STEM program’s director said just one filter takes about 4 hours to print, meaning some students contributed to the cause outside of school hours.

“At any given moment in time, this could be me in this situation, struggling to have clean drinking water or water to shower with,” Ervin Jr. said.

One resident at Sunday’s event said he’s had to put up with water quality issues for decades.

In fact, he said even now, he still boils his water before using it.

“I came to Jackson in 1990. During that first year, there was a there was an actual freeze and water pipes started to burst. There was a boil water alert at that time, and I actually started then,” Asinia Chikuyu said. “I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Chikuyu said he’s grateful for the students’ efforts and, while these filters may only reach a small number of residents, he hopes it leads to a ripple effect that’s felt by many more, including those in charge.

“I just hope that in the end, the state and the city can get together and we can fix this water crisis and then move on to whatever the next crisis is going to be,” he said. “There are plenty on the table.”

Monday, students with the school’s STEM program are teaching middle schoolers at Ambition Prepatory School in Jackson how to 3D print.

They’re also donating a brand-new 3D printer to the school.

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