Young Black Missisippians join May Day protests for workers rights, COVID-19 protections

Many across the South—and the nation—find themselves asking a revolutionary question: how can Black working class people flourish in a former slave state that still struggles to dignify Black lives?

But in Mississippi, an answer is being put forth by Cooperation Jackson (CJ), a scrappy radical Black empowerment collective in the state’s capital founded by Kali Akuno, Sacajawea Hall and others. May 1 of this year marked the sixth anniversary of the group’s founding. The group celebrated the possibility and progress of their vision with a powerful call to action, “The People’s Strike: Fighting for Our Lives, Forging Our Future…”

“We’ll struggle to live out our vision of the solidarity economy laid out in the Jackson Kush plan. We’ll form community land trusts, create makers’ spaces and manufacture our own modular housing, plant community gardens to get fresh organic produce into the mouths and bellies of our people and work toward food sovereignty and security by bringing forward a food co-op to solve our food desert. We’ll engage in political education about the struggles and movements that have carried us, study specifically radical Black history to fill our tactical and rhetorical arsenals, have movie nights for inspiration, serve vegan options in all public meals. We’ll dream, we’ll drum, we’ll pour libations to the ancestors and make offerings of mutual aid and protection to those with whom we share space and time in all times but especially those of existential crisis. And when things get dire enough, as they have in this worldwide pandemic, we’ll deploy our community production capacity for mask-making, we’ll engage in mutual aid efforts, and we’ll put out an international call for a General Strike and lead the online organizing, reaching back into our own history of resistance to recall slave strikes of cotton pickers and incipient labor organizing of washer women in the Reconstruction Era.”

Read the article at SCALAWAG