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Donna Ladd

Stories by Donna

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Tate Reeves Needs to Stop Making Excuses, Start Leading

"Gov. Tate Reeves is spinning. He is grasping at any straw he thinks can divert attention away from his abysmal leadership during the COVID-19 crisis in Mississippi."

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Stop Glamorizing the Cruelty of Racist Ancestors

"The Legislature put up this flag as a stated symbol of white supremacy in 1894 as all those hideous soldier statues were popping up with their sappy remembrances, and it can take this putridly racist flag down in 2020."

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Mayor Lumumba Bans Police Chokeholds, Restricts Firing at Moving Vehicles, More

Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba, in an executive order today, prohibits the Jackson Police Department from using choke-holds, knee-on-neck or any other tactic that restricts breathing in an amendment of its use-of-force policy.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Dear Dr. Dobbs, Mississippi Needs Precise COVID-19 Data

It’s often been a slog to get good and relevant information about the spread of the coronavirus that isn’t either confusing or incomplete, or what we get may combine apples and oranges.

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Lumumba's New Robocall Pleads with Jacksonians: No Large Cookouts, Block Parties

"I ask everyone to resist attending any large gatherings such as cookouts or block parties this holiday weekend. We want you to enjoy yourselves, but we are not out of the woods, yet," the mayor said in the robocall.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: ‘Essential’ Truths: Gov. Reeves Is Failing Many Mississippians

There is no such thing as a 'nonessential' Mississippian." When I saw Gov. Tate Reeves' tweet that on April 23, I stared at my screen. As a native Mississippian, I know that our leaders don't feel that way about every Mississippi resident. Their own actions, or lack of them, speak volumes.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Gov. Tate Reeves Has Failed the COVID-19 Leadership Test

Tate Reeves’ leadership logic says it’s OK to endanger people’s lives to keep churches and guns stores open using a constitutional excuse, but then ignore constitutional precedent on a procedure Mississippi women have the legal right to choose.

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FACTCHECK: Tate Reeves Blames ‘Statute’ for ‘Confederate Heritage Month’

Gov. Tate Reeves is conflicting a state statute requiring Confederate Memorial Day in late April to his proclamation that the entire month celebrate the Confederacy.

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SCV: Gov. Tate Reeves Proclaimed ‘Confederate Heritage Month’ on April 3

As coronavirus spiked across the state, the Mississippi Sons of Confederate Veterans posted an April 3 state proclamation proclaiming that this month is “Confederate Heritage Month.” Gov. Tate Reeves apparently signed the proclamation two days after he did an about-face and issued a statewide shelter-at-home order due to COVID-19.

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April 4 Update: COVID-19 Deaths in Mississippi Rise to 35, Could Reach 1,000

Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 1,455 today, with the Mississippi State Department of Health adding 97 more infected people to its official tally. It also added six more deaths since yesterday, bringing the total to 35, with the state health officer warning Friday that the state may see 1,000 fatalities due to the virus.

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Governor Does About-Face, Issues Statewide ‘Shelter In Place’ For Mississippi

In an overnight about-face, Gov. Tate Reeves signed a long-awaited executive order today closing non-essential businesses and directing all Mississippians to shelter at home between Friday, April 3, and Monday, April 20, to help lessen the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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Fallout of Tate Reeves’ Executive Order: Department Store Roulette, Scared Associates

The concrete shopping jungle known as Dogwood Festival Market looked as much like a ghost town as it could as the sun started to set on a warm spring Saturday afternoon.

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Sunday, March 29: MSDH Reports 95 New COVID-19 Cases, 1 New Death, Up to 74 Counties

The MSDH added 95 reported cases of COVID-19 for a new total of 758 in Mississippi. New counties reporting cases are Carroll, Claiborne and Warren, bringing to the total number of counties reporting cases to 74 of 82.

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Saturday, March 28: COVID-19 Cases in 71 Mississippi Counties, Total 663 with 13 Deaths

Today’s coronavirus numbers are in for Mississippi, leaving very few counties on the map in white, denoting which of our 82 counties do not yet have an official confirmed case. Today, MSDH added 84 cases to bring the total to 663 with 13 deaths. Of 82 counties, 71 now are reporting at least one case of COVID-19.

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UPDATE: Four Mississippi Men, One Woman Die from COVID-19 as State Cases Rise to 377

Men from Holmes, Webster and Wilkinson counties and a woman from Tunica county are the second, third, fourth and fifth person to die from the coronavirus in the state, the Mississippi State Department of Health announced today.

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Up 159% Up Since Friday, Mississippi COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise, Spread

This weekend just saw its second huge spike in coronavirus cases in Mississippi, continuing to spread throughout the state and jumping to 207 cases today from a total of 140 Saturday and 80 on Friday.

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Mississippi COVID-19 Cases Rise to 21 with 6 in Hinds, National Guard Activated

The day after Gov. Tate Reeves activated the National Guard to help, the number of officially confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Mississippi rose to 21 on the Mississippi State Department of Health's website.

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EDITOR'S LETTER: Keep Calm, Stay Safe and Flatten the Curve

"Flattening the curve" matters. We can all help limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in our own communities by social distancing, avoiding groups and staying home as much as possible. Do it.

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URGENT: Two Hinds County Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed Today, 10 Total in State

The Mississippi State Department of Health <added four new confirmed cases of the coronavirus to its website this morning—two of them in the Jackson metro area of Hinds County

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Gang Bill Trying to Be a Baby RICO Mob Bill, But Too Wide, Critics Say

The Jackson Free Press recently asked Sen. Brice Wiggins if his push for Senate Bill 2459 is a way for Mississippi to have its own little Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. He looked surprised at the question, but answered yes.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: In Love, Life and Work, Do the Right Thing and Wait

"The word 'power is often misused. It's not about money or controlling everything. To me, showing unconditional love for a partner, a city, a state or a nation through the toughest times is the most powerful one can be. And I couldn't be prouder than the man on this crazy journey with me."

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Jackson’s Need for a Collaborative ‘Growth Mindset’

"On vexing community issues like violence, we can find and embrace solutions that are evidence-tested in other cities and that make a hell of a lot of sense for Jackson if we bother to get off the mental treadmill."

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DOSSIER: Shame on WLBT for Dishonoring Past with Empty Crime Rhetoric

WLBT, the NBC affiliate of the Atlanta-based Gray Television, climbed fully on board with U.S. Attorney Hurst's false rhetoric that Jackson leaders and other locals are somehow "denying" gun violence in the capital city.

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DOSSIER: Chuck Todd’s ‘Naive’ Screw-up Is Warning for Mississippi Reporting, Too

If you were caught up in the spirit of the holiday, as I was on Christmas Eve, you might have missed one of the most disturbing interviews ever with a national journalist that Rolling Stone posted around midnight. In the interview with NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd, also the host of "Meet the Press," the beleaguered and supposedly expert journalist revealed that he has recently figured out that Donald Trump and his supporters are intentionally using his program to spread disinformation (which he inaccurately called "misinformation," but we'll come back to that.)

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Be Clear; Trump (and Clinton) Caused Own Impeachment

"Impeachment is hell for a the country—but the reasons impeachment proceedings begin are very serious. They are the kinds of violations of public trust than set dangerous precedents for the future."

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DOSSIER: Mississippi Secrets Revealed, from 'Ole Miss' to RFK to Charles Overby

"Most people in Mississippi who do not agree with the radical-conservative, racist status quo have always been afraid to speak publicly about it—certainly at least the white ones."

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Meet the Mississippi Free Press, Focused on Causes and Solutions

The need for a new moral and cultural compass is why I and my co-founder Kimberly Griffin are announcing a new media project today called the Mississippi Free Press, which, like my newspaper, is named in homage to a Civil Rights Movement newspaper in Jackson.

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DOSSIER: Shanda Yates' Win in Mississippi Inspires Voters, Teaches Lessons

If the last week has proved anything, it's that people in the U.S., in Mississippi and especially in the Jackson metropolitan area are excited about a political newcomer, Shanda Yates, defeating a long-time incumbent for the District 64 seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives.

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DOSSIER: From Bashing 'Boys of Spring' to Unpacking a Mississippi-Brexit Love Affair

"TV networks may live and die on ratings and people screaming opinions at each other from two "sides," but our democracy really can't take much more of this kind of dangerous political gamesmanship."

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Mississippi Women, It’s Your Time to Speak Up, Lead

Election season was tough for Mississippi women as usual. It was a time for broken promises and slights as we watched male candidates, and their women enablers, show little apparent interest in our safety, prosperity, health and voices and be elected to all statewide offices.

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DOSSIER: Of Corporate Media and Insulting Shenanigans

What a week. The last 10 days saw not only the official demise of the Mississippi Democratic Party, at least the way it's run and strategized now, but it was filled with disillusioning encounters with local representatives of national media corporations for us, revealing a certain callous regard of other reporters and editors.

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Mississippi Democratic Party Needs to Overhaul Strategies, Outreach, Diversity

Prominent novelist Angie Thomas is planning to leave Mississippi due to the toxic politics here, on prominent display in last night’s election outcome. The wildly successful graduate of Belhaven College grew up in Georgetown in Jackson and travels frequently to Atlanta, Los Angeles and beyond. Her first novel became a popular feature film, and now her second film is in production.

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DOSSIER: GOP's Red-baiting Mailer Template, Campaign Lies, Bryant Miffed

Republicans are already sending out glossy mailers warming up the crowd in Mississippi and other southern states to the necessity of electing Trump apologists and enablers—that is pretty much what Reeves' whole campaign is about at this point.

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DOSSIER: Hinds Doc Destruction Still Threat; Disrespect in Green's Court; N-JAM Club

If you've been reading Seyma Bayram's coverage of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors and my previous Friday columns, you know that she was shocked to discover that the county voted one month ago to destroy a long list of documents spanning 23 years.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Recovering Out Loud from Loss and Breast Cancer

"We must breathe through it all—the physical pain, anguish, stress, disappointment. We must just be present in our lives and accept and release whatever happens. Honestly, I can't imagine a better Zen practice than recovering from cancer while being a woman newspaper editor in a conservative state."

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DOSSIER: Incoming DA Faces Accusations, NBC's Tentacles in Mississippi

Multiple women are accusing Jody Owens, who won the Democratic primary and faces no challenger in November, of inappropriate and sexual behavior and comments from his time as the managing attorney of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Jackson office.

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DOSSIER: Two Faces of Mississippi Powerhouses; Meek Strikes Back

Power brokers like former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott can always find a sympathetic, or least non-questioning, ear back in the Magnolia State.

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Mississippi Lobbyists, Associates in Thick of Trump’s Ukraine-Russia Web

A key figure in Trump's impeachment inquiry has an ongoing and paid association with lobbying firm BGR Group, started by former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, as well as a paid position as executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership in Arizona.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Dehumanization Spreads Racism, Destroys Lives

Dehumanizing other human beings, as Trump does with about any person of color who dares criticize him, is ripping our country apart, just like it did during the Civil Rights Movement and back when the South fought the Civil War to continue its right to dehumanize and enslave human beings and to force new states to allow it.

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DOSSIER: County Documents At Risk, Public Meeting Confusion, No to WJTV

The Jackson Free Press scored a transparency victory this week, at least for now, when the Hinds County Board of Supervisors provided us a list of the documents it plans to destroy, which I addressed in last week's Dossier after reporter Seyma Bayram learned about the impending destruction.

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UPDATED: Abortion Clinic 'Buffer Zone' Draws Ag Commish, Protesters to City Hall

The City is set to vote on a proposal to limit protest activities outside the state's only abortion clinic.

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DOSSIER: Hitting Transparency Brick Walls, Scolded for Immigration Coverage

"I'm officially launching my new weekly Dossier, which will spotlight our accountability journalism, whether about how ICE raids are conducted or when public officials aren't being transparent or not following proper protocols for informing the public about how they reach their decisions and the motivations behind policy."

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Caller Demands JFP Not Sully Football Issue with Stories About 'Illegals,' ICE (Listen)

"Y'all get all this crap in there about this damn illegal raid on these illegal aliens that stole jobs from American citizens," he lectured. "I think that really sucks because I wanted to read about football."

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Judge Disqualifies Attorneys In Water Lawsuit Against City of Jackson

The City of Jackson, a defendant in a lawsuit over how it is handling the current water-billing crisis, sent out two press statements Wednesday night announcing a victory for its defense in the legal action.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Media: Horse-Race Election Reporting Signifies Nothing

It is vital to stop treating elections like a fun, two-sided thrill ride, which (usually male) political reporters and campaign strategists love—and they're getting paid either way, even if your hospital closes.

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Beto O'Rourke: Trump Used ICE to 'Terrorize' Mississippi Hispanics

"(Donald Trump) is terrifying this community. People who have done nothing to anybody else posed no threat to America. So there's no other reason to raid this community than to terrify this community. And that's exactly what he's done," Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said in Canton this morning.

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Rep. Bennie Thompson Demands Answers, Details from AG Barr on Mississippi ICE Raids

Congressman Bennie Thompson sent an eight-page letter and attachments to U.S. Attorney General William Barr demanding answers on why many children were "separated from their parents and terrified because they did not know where their parents were taken and detained.

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UPDATED: Mississippi ICE Raids: How to Help Children, Families (New Funding Links)

After news broke Wednesday of the workplace immigration raids in Mississippi, with 696 arrests and leaving many children stranded at school with nowhere to go, local ministers, advocates and lawyers began mobilizing and compiling resources to share with the public.

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After ICE Raids, Some Kids Reunited with Parents or Relatives in Mississippi

Scott County Youth Court Prosecutor Constance Slaughter-Harvey watched Thursday morning as a few children reunited with and embraced parents whom, just a day before, they had been separated from after U.S. federal ICE agents arrested them.

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Reformer Jody Owens Wins Hinds DA's Seat, Other Races Head to Runoff

Jody Owens, a civil-rights attorney running on a "decarceral" platform with national backing, will become Hinds County's new district attorney following the Aug. 6 primary.

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