Some of Mississippi's top elected officials believe more needs to be done to improve race relations in the state, but as MPB's Paul Boger reports both sides have different opinions on how to reach that goal.
At an annual prayer luncheon in Jackson yesterday, Mississippi's top elected officials came together to discuss how the state can continue making strides towards better race relations.
Neddie Winters is the president of Mission Mississippi -- the group responsible for the prayer luncheon. He believes more communication is the only way to make headway on what many consider a very difficult topic.
"We've come a long way." said Winters. "Where we haven't come a long way is personal relationships. I believe to move forward into the future is to do more relationship building. Opportunities are out there, we just need to figure out how to work together."
While Governor Phil Bryant agrees communication is important, he says creating more economic opportunity is good way to mend some of the relations in the state.
"I think generating a strong economy." said Bryant. "Making sure that we have less drop outs so that children are completing school, they're going on to college [or] they're going on to career training. To work with our community colleges to make sure we have the workforce training that's available. A job changes everything."
However, Second District Representative Bennie Thompson says those gaps won't close until the state makes sure that every Mississippian receives healthcare and a quality education.
"We need to make sure that our system of public education, which is the foundation by which any society moves forward, is fully funded." said Thompson. "Healthcare, our children die faster in this state than any other state in the nation. We have to fix that."
This is the 14th year Mission Mississippi has brought state leaders together to pray and discuss race relations.