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Donna Ladd

Stories by Donna

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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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EDITOR'S NOTE: None of Us Is Safe from Hate

Each of us must use our gifts to heal our city, our state and our nation. We are kicking off our #MSCitizensAgenda to better understand challenges facing Mississippians through public gatherings, social media and deeper reporting.

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Cedric Willis: Honoree of YMP Crime Forum at Walton Elementary

The late Cedric Willis is the honoree of a youth-crime forum tonight in Jackson where participants will brainstorm both causes and solutions of violence in the capital city.

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Reforming Hinds Criminal System Takes Center Stage in DA Race

The national trend of reforming the criminal-justice system, even from inside prosecutors' offices, emerged dramatically in Hinds County during the current campaigns for the next district attorney, who will be decided in the Aug. 6 Democratic primary, or a run-off if needed.

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Hinds DA, Sheriff Hopefuls Share Plans, Philosophies in Primary Bid

During the run-up to the Hinds County primaries on Aug. 6, the word "reform" flies around a lot in the two races that have the most direct effect on the local criminal-justice system—district attorney and sheriff.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Journalism Can Beat the Hell Out of You, But It Must Go On

"When you get into this crazy business for the express purpose of having positive impact, you make it happen no matter what and find people who share the same drive to help you."

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Goodbye, Bozo—My Friend Cedric Willis Gone Too Soon

Cedric Willis had to claw his way to freedom while living in hell. Then he returned to a community that, until to the present, has never collectively decided to tackle and prevent violence rather than thinking that the police can do that.

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Jackson Sues Siemens, Local Businessmen for ‘Bait and Switch’ Contract

Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba announced today that the City of Jackson has filed a lawsuit against Siemens Industry Inc. and associated divisions in the U.S. and Germany, along with multiple local subcontractors.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Mississippi Male Leaders Again Pretend to Value ‘Life’

Some things are universal, or should be. That includes never forcing a woman to have a child, lose her contraception or forbid a safe way to help her have a baby.

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Mayor Lumumba Endorses Former JPD Chief Lee Vance for Hinds Sheriff

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba announced his endorsement of former Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance for Hinds County Sheriff at a press conference outside the Hinds County Courthouse on May 24.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: The Joy and Pain of Being A Mississippian

"Anyone with half a brain should see that confronting and defeating the insane misogyny here is a huge step toward lifting Mississippi to higher and more successful ground for all its citizens."

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EDITOR'S NOTE: A Woman’s Life in the Mississippi Minefield

It's tough being a woman in Mississippi. In fact, it's probably the most difficult state for women to speak our minds and publicly engage on political and policy fronts, and we routinely watch our basic rights come under attack, often without any of us invited to the table.

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EDITORIAL: State Should Not Shield Names of Officers Who Shoot, Kill

Members of the Mississippi Legislature have jumped into the middle of serious and historic problem that the City of Jackson has grappled with over the last year—whether or when law-enforcement officers who shoot and/or kill non-police should be identified.

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State May Block Naming Jackson Officers Involved in Shootings

The public-transparency efforts of the City of Jackson in the last year may be for naught if legislation working through the Mississippi Legislature to protect identities of officers who shoot people becomes law.

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Behind the Badge: Two JPD Officers Who Shot Multiple People in Jackson

After about a year of asking, the Jackson Free Press learned the names, current status and in eight out of nine cases, the details of officer-involved shootings since Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba took office in July 2017, promising transparency and police reform.

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Jackson Cop Involved in 3 Shootings; Teen Shot 2 Times in Back, Family Says

Officer Anthony Veasey was involved in three separate shootings in Jackson in 14 months since November 2017, including an exchange of gunfire that hit an 18-year-old two times in the back and five times in the leg, the teenager's family tells the Jackson Free Press.

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EDITORIAL: Mayor Must Repair City's Transparency Related to Policing, Crime

After asking for more than a year, the Jackson Free Press finally received the names and current status of Jackson police officers who shot people in the capital city since Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba became mayor in July 2017.

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Mayor: No ID of Cops in Head Trauma Death; Other JPD Officers in Shootings Finally Revealed

The mayor will not reveal the names of officers accused of killing George Robinson with a head blow, but the City of Jackson finally provided names and details about 12 officers involved in nine shootings since 2017.

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Lumumba Added to 'Smart Crime Initiative' Despite Policing Decisions at Home

Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba is joining 15 mayors from cities in the U.S. in a Mayors for Smart Crime Initiative, the Center for American Progress, announced today.

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Mississippi Leaders Still 'Honoring' Racists, After All These Years

The head of the Mississippi state agency that sent out a tweet this week honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee once attended a rally of a racist organization that refers to black people as a "retrograde species of humanity."

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City: Man, 62, May Have Died After Altercation with Jackson Police

The City of Jackson sent out a cryptic and short press statement at 5:12 p.m. today, indicating that an older man may have died from an encounter with Jackson police on Sunday, Jan. 13, after a low-level misdemeanor stop.

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Mayor Lumumba on Murders: Police Cannot 'Enter the Minds and Stop These People'

Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba sent out a statement addressing several murders that roiled the capital city over the weekend—from a preacher killed in the Washington Addition to a teenager killed in a Walmart parking lot.

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Former Criminals Training to Stop Violence in Jackson with $150,000 Grant

Terun Moore and Benny Ivey will be Jackson's first official, trained "credible messengers," working to prevent violence in the metro area.

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End Near for Racist Politics in Mississippi?

Wearing a long coat, she stood in front of a statue of Elvis Presley when she told the crowd that if her friend Colin Hutchinson "invited me to a public hanging, I would be on the front row."

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The Right, and Wrong, Way to Change the Mississippi Flag

It's hard to know whether it cost him votes, but there was a moment during Mississippi Rep. David Baria's unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate that caused a surprised buzz around a state where the conventional wisdom is that criticizing odes to the Confederacy is a political death knell.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: GOP Leaders, Stop Disrespecting Black Mississippians

Dear Mississippi Republican leaders: Like much of the recent 40 years, your actions toward African Americans in our state in the last 10 days have been atrocious.

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Governor Calls Abortion ‘Black Genocide,’ Defends Hyde-Smith on ‘Hanging’ Tape

As state and national controversy swirls around U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s comment about a public hanging” in her race against an African American opponent, Gov. Phil Bryant opened a press conference this morning implying that black women are participating in “the genocide of 20 million African American children” through legal abortions

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