Below is ACLU of Mississippi Executive Director Jennifer Riley Collins' response to the Governor's State of the State Address - January 17, 2017:

As the state celebrates its 200-year mark, the governor would like to suggest that all is as well as a day sitting on the front porch sipping mint julip tea. The state of the state is actually not as picture perfect as a sweet smelling Magnolia in full bloom that the governor would like us all to believe in his address, suggesting that Mississippi is in good shape. Instead, the state of our state is more akin to the withering rose left outside in the cold! 

Mississippi statistics and rankings tell the true story – without affordable health care, a fully funded education system, a living wage inclusive of equal pay for women, creation of state civil rights that protect all Mississippians and not just those in blue, and full transparency - we will continue to struggle. 

The governor spoke of the hard work regarding the budget. The reality is that Mississippi would not be forced to rob its children of an education if it would embrace inclusion instead of insisting upon closing eyes and minds. We should not be spending tax payer dollars trying to figure out another way to inflict death upon the condemned or to racially profile our citizens with unconstitutional stop and verify type tactics. 

It is time for the governor and state leadership to face the reality that divisive and unnecessary policies and rhetoric repeated for personal political gains are not what Mississippi needs. In order for Mississippi’s state to truly be well, we must embrace the ideology that “We Are All Mississippi.”