Communities of Opportunity

Mississippians share a desire for healthy and safe neighborhoods and greater economic opportunity. Too often, however, competition for business investment has led our state away from these values. Communities find themselves pressured into a race to the bottom on wages, land prices and public health. If a particular development would have undesirable effects upon its neighbors, the proponents often locate the activity in communities of color where opposition is easier to overcome. When this is coupled with disregard for minority hiring and contracting rules, the result is a lose-lose situation for Mississippi’s non-white residents: disproportionately high environmental burdens without any economic benefits. The state’s legacy of segregation and discrimination has produced political institutions that are less likely to treat the quality of life, property value and economic opportunity of racial minority residents with equal concern and respect as their white counterparts. The Center is committed to environmental justice as a means of ensuring that all Mississippians can live in communities of opportunity.

The Center’s sustainable communities campaign has a proven track record of ensuring that federally-funded projects fulfill their fair housing, jobs and environmental protection mandates.  The Center supports collaboration between business, political and community leaders whenever possible as an alternative to protracted litigation. Using its community lawyering model and drawing on its experience with coalition-led campaigns, the Center can help clients more effectively engage in roundtable negotiations to reshape a proposed project to more fairly distribute the economic benefits and environmental burdens. If necessary, Center’s experienced attorneys can mount a multi-faceted advocacy and litigation strategy before agencies and the courts.

For additional information about trainings or evaluations of particular situations, contact us.