What's New 2015
RDLN Assembly in Mississippi
- Challenging Economic Inequality -
Food & Health
(photo left, l to r ) Panelists: Dorothy Grady-Scarbrough, RDLN Mississippi Food & Health Fellow, Executive Director, Mississippians Engaged in Greener Agriculture (MEGA); Oleta Fitzgerald, RDLN Mississippi Food & Health Fellow, Regional Administrator, Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative (SRBWI); Anna Huff-Davis, RDLN Leader, MidDelta Community Consortium (Arkansas); Erma Wilburn, Southwest Georgia Project and RDLN/AHOC VISTA member; LaPearl Shelby, MidDelta Community Consortium and RDLN/AHOC VISTA member. (photo right) RDLN graduate Alice Paris, recently retired from the Tuskegee Institute, moderated the session. Alice continues to work part time with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives
As RDLN Leaders and VISTA members described their Food and Health work in the field, a lively discussion arose about the difficulty of preserving community values, priorities, and self-determination in collaborating with university research projects.
Redistricting & Voter Suppression
(l to r) DJ from Appalachian Tennessee; RDLN graduate Cynthia Ellis from Belize, Central America; RDLN graduate Julie Moss, Keetoowah Band, Cherokee (standing); Emma Dixon of Bogalusa, Louisiana; and Carol Judy from Appalachian Tennessee. *This was a role-playing session*
Emma Dixon was a candidate for city council in Bogalusa, Louisiana, in Spring 2015. Shortly before the election, she learned that she was no longer a resident of the district where she was running even though she had formally qualified. The district lines had been redrawn two years prior but no one had informed the residents. Emma was not able to vote for herself in the election and the authorities claimed it was impossible to hold a substitute election. This was a blatant example of voter suppression, and Network members want to find a way to address this and related issues.
Circle of Sharing
RDLN Network members share updates on challenges, achievements, and concerns
Veronica Trevino-Sosa buys the diagram of the coal industry's impact on Appalachian Mountains that Carol Judy contributed to the Silent Auction
Anita LaRan organized the Silent Auction. La Pearl Shelby considers a purchase
Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative (SRBWI)
RDLN Mississippi Food & Health Fellow Oleta Fitzgerald, Regional Administrator for the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative (SRBWI), led a session at the Mississippi Delta Council For Farm Workers Opportunities, Inc. (MDCFWOI) in Clarksdale, Mississippi. This is the site where SRBWI is working with partners to establish a food hub for the Delta. The RDLN visitors heard from Don Green, Executive Director of MDCFWOI and from Willie James Jones, Mayor of Coahoma, Mississippi and the group was treated to samples of food – slices of sweet potato pie, for example -- that are expected to be prepared in a commercial kitchen at the site. The kitchen will serve as an anchor for the food hub. Gloria Sturdevant and Hope Davenport of Greenville work on this project with SRBWI. They also work with a cooperative of women farmers, Women in Agriculture, whose members in several counties, who will be providing nutritional crops for the food hub. Sweet potatoes, including fresh slices for dipping, and cooked sweet potato greens are among the specialties so far.
Mississippians Engaged in Greener Agriculture (MEGA)
Dorothy is co-lead for the Mississippi Farm to School Network
We taped two Delta Renaissance TV shows with Sade Turnipseed to highlight the importance of eating well and making locally grown food available with a new generation of farmers. Dorothy is co-lead for Farm-to-School for the state of Mississippi. MEGA farmers mentor young men in farming and they learn to grow, build hoop houses, and harvest food. MEGA assists in new community gardens in backyards, schools, churches and community locations, as well as hosting cooking classes and fitness activities.
Charles Smith, Local Artist
The BB King MuseumRDLN graduate Minnie Bommer at the BB King museum. Minnie, former executive director of Children & Family Services, is an Alderwoman in Covington, TN
Mississippi Blues. Pat MossPosted by Nancy Gaynor on Saturday, October 31, 2015