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Meet Bright City Jackson, Mississippi

Jackson sits on the west bank of the Pearl River, and is replete with magnolias, wisterias and delectable Southern cuisine. Walking downtown affords a view of Mississippi’s “new” Capital building (circa 1903). Over 4,700 decorative bulbs were installed throughout the Beaux-Arts style building, and all lights are illuminated at the start of each legislative session. A few blocks away is Jackson’s Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, where the state’s  legacy in the Civil Rights Movement can be explored. Jackson is also home to Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba who famously talked about making Jackson “the most radical city on the planet.”

“As a city that focuses part of its strategic platform on the health and safety of every citizen, we have to recognize that Mississippi has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the nation,” said Mayor Lumumba.  One of Jackson’s priority goals is to promote infant health. Jackson is uniquely positioned to take an active role in achieving this goal because it manages three early childhood development centers, including two that focus on children two years old and younger.

City staff will kick-off their Bright City project by conducting a short survey of parents of children at early childhood development centers to understand needs related to toxics education. City staff will also conduct a review of existing childcare policies to identify areas where healthier products could be used and/or healthier policies implemented (e.g., fragrance-free policy to reduce phthalate exposure). Resulting information will be used to identify opportunities for implementation of greener policies at the city-managed childcare centers.

City staff, in partnership with their community based partner OneVoice, will organize and staff a public event in a highly impacted neighborhood(s) that provides public outreach and education about potential neurotoxic exposures in homes, air and food.

Would your City benefit from similar actions? Or, is your City interested in being part of the Bright Cities program?

To discuss this and anything else, please contact Bright Cities Program Director, Kyra Naumoff Shields at knaumoff@hbbf.org.

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