News

ACLU-MS Comment on Jail Death of Rexdale Henry in Neshoba County

July 30, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Charles Irvin, 601.354.3408, cirvin@aclu-ms.org; Jennifer Riley-Collins, 601.354.3408, jriley-collins@aclu-ms.org

JACKSON, Miss – The following is a statement from American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Mississippi legal director, Charles Irvin, on the death of Choctaw activist Rexdale Henry in the Neshoba County Jail in Philadelphia, Mississippi on July 14, 2015:

“The ACLU of Mississippi would like to extend our thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Rexdale Henry. Unfortunately, this case is not an isolated incident. Far too many citizens die every year in police encounters and many more are seriously injured. People of color are disproportionately affected at the hands of law enforcement and the increase in suspicious deaths has to stop.

“We support the Henry family and call for complete police transparency and a thorough independent investigation into the death of Rexdale Henry. We will continue to monitor the progress of the investigation. We encourage law enforcement to respect the First Amendment rights of citizens to peacefully protest and assemble in response to this tragedy.”

ACLU of Mississippi Receives $1 Million from W.K. Kellogg Foundation

July 28, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Morgan Miller, 601-354-3408, mmiller@aclu-ms.org
Dana Terry, 769.230.2841, dterry@mscenterforjustice.org

JACKSON, Miss – The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi Foundation (ACLU-MS) received a two-year one million dollar grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to address excessive discipline in schools and disparate punishment of young men of color by assessing current practices and developing a statewide model of fair school discipline practices fostering conditions for success. This project aims to dismantle the systems of structural and institutional racism and bias by identifying the structures that perpetuate the current practice of disparate implementation of discipline and engage these systems to create positive and supportive institutions and pathways for young men of color.

“This generous grant will allow us to develop and establish a community based model systems approach to address school discipline and criminalization of young men of color,” said Jennifer Riley-Collins, Executive Director of the ACLU of Mississippi.

Kimberly Merchant, Director of Educational Opportunities of the Mississippi Center for Justice stated “We are excited about our partnership with the Sunflower County Consolidated School District (SCCSD) and the SCCSD P-16 Parental Engagement Council. Together we will connect YMOC to systems, institutions and pathways designed to help young men succeed.” 

The partnership aims to develop a statewide uniform disciplinary policy that will reduce disciplinary rates; increase the capacity of the SCCSD staff to provide additional support for positive behavior intervention and monitoring of discipline data and implementation of district policy; and increase the knowledge base and capacity of the SCCSD P-16 community engagement council.

Extreme and destructive approaches to school discipline have devastated the students and families of Mississippi, harmed its teachers, members of law enforcement, and community members, and caused profound damage to the economic health and well-being of the State at large. Mississippi’s Black students are hit the hardest by harsh discipline practices. Statewide, they are three times more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension than their White peers, with an even greater disparity in some school districts. There are no successful schools that suspend, expel, and refer large numbers of students to law enforcement. Yet, there are no statewide prescribed standards for school discipline that ensure that the codes of student conduct in Mississippi’s school districts meet basic standards of fairness and common sense. Such harsh and extreme punishment works at cross-purposes with the State’s school improvement efforts and educators’ efforts to promote teaching and learning in healthy and productive ways.

This system change approach will engage the key stakeholders in the educational, law enforcement, judicial, community and media systems.  It will provide a model for Mississippi to promote policies that create effective schools, stronger communities, and fiscal health.

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About the ACLU of Mississippi


The ACLU of Mississippi is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization founded in 1969 that defends and expands the constitutional rights and civil liberties of all Mississippians guaranteed under the United States and Mississippi Constitutions, through its litigation, legislative and public education programs. It is an affiliate of the national ACLU.

About the Mississippi Center for Justice

The Mississippi Center for Justice is a nonprofit, public interest law firm committed to advancing racial and economic justice. Supported and staffed by attorneys, community leaders and volunteers, the Center develops and pursues strategies to combat discrimination and poverty statewide.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM ACLU-MS ON CHOKING DEATH OF JONATHAN SANDERS

July 16, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:    Charles Irvin, ACLU of Mississippi, 601.354.3408, cirvin@aclu-ms.org; Jennifer Riley-Collins, ACLU of Mississippi, 601.354.3408. jriley-collins@aclu-ms.org

JACKSON, Miss - The ACLU-MS would like to extend our thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Jonathan Sanders. Unfortunately this case is not an isolated incident. Far too many Black men die every year in police encounters, and many more are seriously injured. People of color are disproportionately affected by excessive use of force at the hands of the police.

At this time we join the community in Stonewall, Mississippi  in noting the importance of increased training for police on excessive use of force and transparency in police practices, especially in regards to interactions with communities of color.

We support the Sanders family and call for complete police transparency and a thorough independent investigation into the death of Johnathan Sanders.  We expect that in the aftermath of this horrible injustice, local law enforcement will fully respect the rights of the community to engage in peaceful assembly, prayer, and protest as they mourn this loss.

5th Circuit Lifts Stay on Mississippi Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

July 01, 2015

On Wednesday, July 1st, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its stay of U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ruling in Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant, clearing the path for same-sex marriage in Mississippi. Read the ruling.

For more on marriage equality in Mississippi, visit our Love Wins page.

Mississippi Attorney General Issues New Marriage Equality Guidance to Circuit Clerks

June 29, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Morgan Miller, ACLU of Mississippi, 769-447-6678; mmiller@aclu-ms.org 

JACKSON, Miss – Today, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood issued new guidance to Circuit Clerks in Mississippi regarding marriage licenses for same-sex couples. The following is a response from American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi Executive Director Jennifer Riley-Collins:

“We are pleased with today’s guidance to the Circuit Clerks issued by Attorney General Hood. Clerks across the state have started allowing same-sex couples to marry without waiting for further order from the courts. We hope that couples across the state will encounter no more roadblocks to equality. Circuit Clerks and all other governmental officials who have sworn an oath to follow the Constitution should move swiftly to comply with the law of the land. If there are any issues the ACLU of Mississippi remains committed to standing in defense of marriage equality across the state. 

“If any couple encounters an issue please contact our office at 601-354-3408.”

Visit our Love Wins page more information on the Supreme Court decision, FAQ's on getting married in Mississippi and our hotline. 

ACLU-MS Responds to Attorney General’s Guidance to Circuit Clerks

June 26, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Morgan Miller, ACLU of Mississippi, 769-447-6678; mmiller@aclu-ms.org 

JACKSON, Miss – The following is a statement from American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi Executive Director Jennifer Riley-Collins in response to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s guidance to Circuit Clerks about the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges:

“Everyone has a duty to follow the Constitution whether or not there is a specific injunction ordering them to do so on pain of contempt. Common sense should rule. A court order should not be needed to have the State of Mississippi follow the Constitution. 

“The Supreme Court has spoken and everyone should be complying with the Constitution. The right question isn’t about timing around lifting the stay on the injunction. The question is whether states and their officers have to comply with the Constitution now. The answer is yes. States and government officials cannot drag their heels when it comes to their constitutional obligations. 

“The ACLU of Mississippi remains prepared to ensure and defend the freedom of marriage to all. While we hope the Clerks will begin to issue the licenses soon, all necessary legal actions remain an option.”

Love Should Not Wait

June 26, 2015

By Jennifer Riley-Collins

As many of you know I am a proud Mississippian. I am also very proud to be the Executive Director of the ACLU of MS. I hope that today the two align like never before. Today, SCOTUS ruled that all people have a right to equality. Once before, when that was the ruling of the high court the State of MS was purposefully slow and put barriers in place to prevent equality from being recognized. 

This morning the MS Atty General issued guidance to Circuit Clerks that they were not allowed to issues licenses to couples until the 5th Circuit lifted its stay. Even though the SCOTUS decision came down several hours ago, we are waiting on the Court to lift its stay. We are hopeful that the Court will see as Judge Reeves did that no person should be treated as a second class citizen and will lift the stay of his order recognizing the right to marry. We are hopeful that Mississippi's officials will embrace everyone and will not attempt to set up barriers to this momentous decision.

I pray that the State of Mississippi is on the right side of history this time. Aren't we tired of being last?

FAQ: Getting Married in Mississippi

June 26, 2015

Before going to the courthouse it is a good idea to verify this information with your local County Clerk’s office as requirements may change! Their phone numbers are listed at the bottom of this page.

Generally, here’s what you need to know.

What to bring:

  • Both parties must be preset to apply for a license.
  • Full name and address of both people applying for a license
  •  Names and address of parents of both parties
  •   Drivers license and social security card for both parties.
  •  $21 Cash
  • For previously married applicants please bring

○     Date last marriage ended (divorce, death, etc)

○     Number of previous marriages

○     If divorced within the last 6 months bring divorce decree.

Please note:

  •  There is no waiting period. You may marry right away.
  •  There is no blood test required.
  •  If you are already legally married in another state or country then your marriage is automatically recognized by the state of Mississippi. You do not need to record any documents or apply for a Mississippi marriage license.

If you encounter any problems while applying for a marriage license please call the Mississippi ACLU at 601-354-3408. 

Mississippi County Clerk's Offices

Adams County

Natchey, MS

601.446.6326

 

Alcorn County

Corinth, MS

601.286.7740

 

Amite County

Liberty, MS

601-657-8932

 

Attala County

Kosciusko, MS

601-289-1471

 

Benton County

Ashland, MS

601.224.6310

 

Bolivar County

Cleveland, MS

601.843.2061

 

Calhoun County

Pittsboro, MS

601.412.3101

 

Carroll County

Carrollton, MS

601.237.9274

 

Chickasay County

Houston, MS

601.456.2331

 

Claiborne County

Port Gibson, MS

601.437.5841

 

Clay County

West Point, MS

601.494.3384

 

Coahoma County

Clarksdale, MS

601.624.3000

 

Copiah County

Hazlehurst, MS

601.894.1241

 

Covington County

Collins, MS

601.765.6506

 

De Soto County

Hernando, MS

601.429.1325

 

Forrest County

Hattiesburg, MS

601.582.3213

 

Franklin County

Meadville, MS

601.384.2320

 

George County

Lucedale, MS

601.947.4881

 

Greene County

Leakesville, MS

601.394.2379

 

Grenada County

Grenada, MS

601.226.1941

 

Hancock County

Bay St. Louis, MS

228.467.5265

 

Harrison County

Gulfport, MS

228.865.4167

 

Hinds County

Raymond, MS

601.968.6653

 

Holmes County

Lexington, MS

601.834.2476

 

Itawamba County

Fulton, MS

601.862.3511

 

Jackson County

Pascagoula, MS

228.769.3039

 

Jefferson Davis County

Prentiss, MS

601.792.4231

 

Jones County

Laurel, MS

601.425.2556

 

Lafayette County

Oxford, MS

601.234.4951

 

Lamar County

Purvis, MS

601-794-8504

 

Lauderdale County

Meridian, MS

601.482.9731

 

Leake County

Carthage, MS

601.298.1302

 

Lee County

Tupelo, MS

662.841.9024

 

Leflore County

Greenwood, MS

601.453.1435

 

Lincoln County

Brookhaven, MS

601.835.3435

 

Lowndes County

Columbus, MS

601.329.5900

 

Madison County

Canton, MS

601.859.4365

 

Marion County

Columbia, MS

601.736.8246

 

Marshall County

Holly Springs, MS

601.252.3434

 

Monroe County

Aberdeen, MS

601.369.8695

 

Montgomery County

Winona, MS

601-283-4161

 

Neshoba County

Philadelphia, MS

601.656.4781

 

Newton County

Decatur, MS

601.635.2368

 

Noxubee County

Macon, MS

601.726.5737

 

Oktibbeha County

Starkville, MS

601.323.1356

 

Panola County

Batesville, MS

601.563.6210

 

Pearl River County

Polarville, MS

601.795.1235

 

Pike County

Magnolia, MS

601.783.2581

 

Prentiss County

Booneville, MS

601.728.4611

 

Quitman County

Marks, MS

601.326.8003

 

Rankin County

Brandon, MS

601.825.1466

 

Scott County

Forest, MS

601.469.3601

 

Simpson County

Mendenhall, MS

601.847.2474

 

Stone County

Wiggins, MS

601.928.5246

 

Sunflower County

Indianola, MS

601.887.1252

 

Tate County

Senatobia, MS

601.562.5211

 

Tishomingo County

Iuka, MS

601.423.7037

 

Union County

New Albany, MS

601.534.1910

 

Warren County

Vicksburg, MS

601.636.3961

 

Washington County

Greenville, MS

601.378.2747

 

Winston County

Louisville, MS

601.773.3581

 

Yalobusha County

Water Valley, MS

601.473.1341

 

Yazoo County

Yazoo City, MS

601.746.1872

ACLU-MS Responds to Supreme Court Marriage Equality Ruling

June 26, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Morgan Miller, ACLU of Mississippi, 601-354-3408; mmiller@aclu-ms.org 

JACKSON, Miss – The following is a statement from American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi Executive Director Jennifer Riley-Collins on the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling inObergefell v. Hodges:

“Today’s historic Supreme Court ruling means same-sex couples will soon have the freedom to marry and equal respect for their marriages across America. This ruling will bring joy to families, and final nationwide victory to the decades-long freedom to marry movement. This is a momentous win for freedom, equality, inclusion, and above all, love. We can celebrate that ours is a country that keeps its promise of the pursuit of happiness, liberty, and justice for all.

“Same-sex couples and their families have waited long enough. We hope state officials move swiftly to implement the Constitution’s command. 

“Our movement must harness the momentum from the marriage conversation to the work of securing additional advances towards equality, especially nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. LGBT people in Mississippi can still be fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, and denied service in restaurants and shops simply for being who they are.”

ACLU-MS Responds to Action Against Senatobia Family Cheering at Graduation

June 05, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Morgan Miller, ACLU of Mississippi, 769-447-6678; mmiller@aclu-ms.org 

JACKSON, Miss – The following is a statement from American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi Legal Director Charles Irvin in response to the criminal action taken against a family cheering at Senatobia High School’s graduation ceremony:

“The First Amendment of the United States Constitution clearly prohibits the making of any law that would impede the freedom of speech. Citizens should be able to enjoy the right of free speech, especially at a congratulatory event, like a high school graduation. The action of charging the family with disturbing the peace by Senatobia Municipal School District Superintendent Jay Foster infringes upon the family’s exercise of this right. The cheering by the family does not qualify as a disturbance of the peace and should not have elicited a criminal response. Additionally, the family’s celebration was not calculated to provoke a breach of the peace, nor would it have led to a breach of the peace.

“The school’s response points to the issue of the subjective enforcement of these kinds of laws in Mississippi and across the country. The ACLU of Mississippi will stand in defense of citizens’ right to the freedom of speech and condemn an unnecessary criminal response to these kinds of actions.”

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