Because so many issues influence health and well-being in the Delta, we occasionally tackle projects that don’t fit neatly into any of our usual categories. Read more about some of these projects at the links below.
Delta Scholars Program
The Delta Fellow serves as the Program Director for the Delta Scholars Program, a new initiative that began in the summer of 2018 at the Mississippi State University Shackouls Honors College. The Delta Scholars program aimed to train a cohort of young leaders to think critically about issues of systemic justice affecting Mississippi, and to support them in developing solutions that will produce positive social change in their communities and the state at large. During a ten day “Summer Institute,” 12 undergraduates from colleges across the state learned about the Mississippi Delta as a lens through which to:
Explore how history, policy, and systemic forces interact to impact individual and community well-being
Better understand the experience and effects of poverty; and
Study examples of innovative, interdisciplinary initiatives promoting social change through research, policy, and community engagement
Over the course of the program, each student worked to identify an issue of inequality or injustice that they were interested in, and drew from examples in the Delta to develop a proposal for a project that will promote dialogue and change around that issue in their own communities or the state broadly. The students had the opportunity to share their project proposals and get feedback from each other and faculty mentors. Students also had the opportunity to present their proposals to a wider audience at the Delta Directions Conference in Clarksdale, which coincided with the end of the 10-day program. In Fall 2018, the Delta Scholars reconnected to spend an additional week at Harvard, where they explored graduate school opportunities and discussed progress on their projects.
Criminal Justice Reform
In 2017-2018, the Child and Youth Team of the Mississippi Delta Project partnered with the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law to conduct research on criminal justice policy in Mississippi. Students from the team interviewed a range of stakeholders to identify priorities for criminal justice reform in the state and systemic barriers to change. Their research will be used by the MacArthur Justice Center to inform the direction of their future advocacy efforts.