Mississippi has made the front pages in many newspapers in the last few months. The New York Times compared the state with Louisiana to energize Katrina rescue efforts. Big layout then. However, the latest articles concerned a good and a bad compliment: Mississippi is the highest in charitable giving and the lowest in household income. My, oh, my. We've suffered from an inferiority complex too many years.
We are charitable. I'm proud to say that schools and organizations in various directions of the state have continued to help Katrina victims. The local colleges and universities have each adopted a city along the Gulf Coast and the efforts of their students will have a tremendous impact. Local residents have formed their own helping hands groups and administer directly with families, churches, libraries, rather than push contributions to larger organizations like Salvation Army or Red Cross. Local restaurants are holding special entertainment with specific groups in mind. One this Saturday night will help the Walter Anderson Family in their restoration of valuable art work that was supposedly safe in another part of the Coast, but suffered water damage.
When on Peaks Island, Maine we attended a Katrina Fund Raiser and this tiny island of 1,000 year 'round residents raised $15,000 in one day. They didn't spend a lot of up front money to have this, most everything was donated. Through the efforts of my daughter she was able to convince the Fund Raiser Committee to send $1,000 to a library in Long Beach, MS that had lost everything. She remains in contact with the librarian who appreciates her efforts to have a book drive to help stock the make-shift library. So much to be done. This doesn't begin to relate the needs there.
As to having the lowest median income in the nation (Connecticut has the highest), we still manage to produce greats in art, music, literature, and sports. Someone recently reminded me that we have produced more sports greats than any other state.
Now a local advertising agency has taken on the responsibility of opening a website to "inform and educate the citizens of Mississippi, as well as interested parties across the U.S., about the wonderful people, aspects and facts associated with the state..." There will be public service announcements for print publications and posters sent to all schools, public and private.
Their campaign is "Mississippi, Believe It!" (see About Mississippi in the link). Everyone recognizes that Oprah, Willie Morris, Brett Farve, B.B. King, and Faith Hill are among recognizable people originally from Mississippi. And don't forget ME-- your humble scribe.