It's a warm and sunny morning in Mississippi following Friday's first Presidential Debate at the University of Mississippi. The community and the campus was filled with a diverse crowd of people from the world and the nation. Over 3,000 journalists were present to chronicle the event. Now as the cast of thousands of extras depart, we will begin to see how this event has affected our community and Mississippi.
The Friday night debate followed the Thursday first ever Mississippi Kids and Youth Convention, a political convention to address the major issues affecting children and youth. Over 800 young people attend a 3-hour convention to learn about the issues of child abuse and neglect, child poverty, after-school program needs, Head Start, children affected by parental incarceration, and lack of access to health care. After two caucuses (one of which I facilitated on child poverty, abuse and neglect, and children alone after school) they voted their top platform issues: What kids in Mississippi are concerned about.
The number one issue: child abuse and neglect, followed by concern about so many children in poverty. Since Mississippi ranks the worst of the 50 states in terms of child poverty, this is not surprising. Young people were passionate about expressing their concerns for their future and addressing the need for equal education opportunities.
It is exciting to be part of making history in Mississippi as we come together to create a better future for ALL Mississippians.