Poverty Tour finds progress and problems in MS Delta - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Poverty Tour finds progress and problems in MS Delta

MARKS, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Mississippi ranks 49th in child poverty.  Wednesday 50 years after Senator Robert Kennedy brought national attention to the poor in the Mississippi Delta, there was another historic tour to examine progress, continued pain and plans for the future.

Vans lined the front of the high school in Marks Wednesday.  Children and several families received free examinations, all part of the 2017 Poverty Tour in the Mississippi Delta.

"So much good I've seen okay. And I've been very moved by the stories," said Marian Wright Edelman.

Edelman, who now heads the Children's Defense Fund,  was a young civil rights attorney in 1967. She says Senator Robert Kennedy was a superstar who cared, and could bring in the press as well as national attention to extreme poverty and hunger in the Delta.

"This is the 50th Anniversary coming up and we need to honor that by saying we're gonna end child poverty in this country and we can't help children without helping their families," added Edelman.

In a panel discussion Edelman says 50 years later, she is encouraged by the improvements and changes, but also concerned that more people are not demanding better conditions for children and families.

"what kind of state turns down Medicaid that will help millions of people in their own state and around the country in jobs," said Edelman. "Don't let them get away with that. But they will if you let them."

Many families shared their daily fight to have enough food, to provide healthcare for their children and why education is so important. Edelman says now it is time to use their stories to fuel change and to demand more from Congress and state lawmakers.

Edelman says for her this was not a re-creation of the historic 1967 Poverty Tour, it was a fact-finding mission. She also says food insecurity in the richest country in the world is inexcusable.

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