Taking Back Our Neighborhoods- Inspired by Lumumba - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods- Inspired by Lumumba

The mayor's passing has had a profound impact on many Jackson residents. I went to south Jackson after receiving an email about abandoned houses and trash littering the streets. When I got there, I found much more than that...inspiration for one resident that came from Chokwe Lumumba.

Ilano Drive is just as the emailer described; abandoned houses, some boarded up and plenty of trash along the street and in yards.

But in the midst of all this we spotted a woman, armed with a gripping tool and trash bags. She said she used to pick up trash in her neighborhood but stopped. I asked her why she started again and this is her reply.

"The passing of Chokwe Lumumba really touched me and I think he was a very good man," she said. "I didn't agree with him on every political aspect. We could've worked together and we did. He didn't kick the can down the road as far as the water situation and he picked it up and so he didn't like debris. I saw him on camera picking up debris; I think on y'all's station and I said that's the least I could do because it had gotten kind of out of hand around here and that's what I'm doing. I just wanted to do something for him."

Her name is Vera Avalon. She says everyone calls her "Shug". Shug is a former federal employee who has lived in this south Jackson neighborhood for 30-years and she says she has no plans to move. 

"I think fear is expensive," said Avalon. "I don't think you run just because your neighbors change."

Shug says she loves her neighbors but she knows there are problems that have to be addressed.

"You know an adult threw out that beer bottle," added Avalon. "Children can't buy beer."

And she doesn't blame city officials for the condition of her neighborhood.

"Citys just like us, strapped for money," said Avalon. "So, we try to work out our problem and our differences together. To me, that's the best way."

"Ain' t nobody gonna do no more for you than you do for yourself," she continued.

I noticed Avalon had tears in her eyes.

"Yeah, that's because of Chokwe," she said. "It really affected me deeply because for once, I thought, hey, we've got somebody that's really gonna do something."

And in this case the late mayor did do something.

"It filled me with hope," added Avalon.

Let us help you take back your neighborhood. Just send an email to hballou@wlbt.com or contact me on Facebook or Twitter.

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