Municipal leaders from across Mississippi hope to bridge racial gaps within their own communities. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how many say gaining a better understanding of each other is one of the first steps to solving Mississippi's problems.

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City Leaders Hope Commucation Leads to Better Communities

By Daniel Cherry | Published 10 May 2012 06:12pm | comments

Municipal leaders from across Mississippi hope to bridge racial gaps within their own communities. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how many say gaining a better understanding of each other is one of the first steps to solving Mississippi's problems.

Mississippi is one of the most diverse states in the nation, and with that comes certain challenges. Parker Wisemann, is Mayor of Starkville. During the Mayors' prayer luncheon in Jackson yesterday he said Mississippi's history of racial discrimination has left scars in many communities, but he hopes residents can learn to work together.

"All of our communities are bi-racial and our success is tied to our ability to be racially harmonious places where everybody lives and works together."

That's why Mission Mississippi brought in municipal leaders from across the state to discuss ways to open up conversations and dissolve racial tensions. Mission Mississippi is a religious organization who's goal is to foster dialogue between all races and denominations. Neddie Winters is President.

"It gets difficult sometimes. So what do you do when it gets difficult? You have to trust, respect, and honest and integrity, and all those deep things that are there. Then you sit and work through it."

Many cities in Mississippi face a number of challenges from aging infrastructure to diminishing tax bases. Jackson City Councilman Quentin Whitwell wants to get beyond stereotypes and address issues that really matter.

"Those are the issues all of our citizens face regarding having a good job, having good health, making sure that public safety issues are confronted, and then making sure that within our neighborhoods, people get along with one another."

Leaders say promoting education and understanding will break down traditional racial and economic barriers dividing many of Mississippi's communities.

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