Photo: GETTY
  /  12.23.2022

While some people are hoping for extravagant gifts for Christmas, Jackson, Mississippi residents are just thankful to have clean water.

Earlier this week, XXXTentacion’s mother, Cleopatra Bernard, and her friend Stacia Mac, who is rapper Polo G’s mother, donated water to residents of Jackson, Mississippi through the XXXTentacion Foundation. “When my son conceived this foundation, his dream was to help those in need, especially young children, troubled youth and people who are ignored by society,” Bernard said in a statement. “Stacia brought the Jackson issue to my attention, and after learning more about the resident’s plight, I realized it was in direct alignment with what Jahseh (XXXTentacion) wanted to accomplish,” she revealed.

Once Mac identified the water catastrophe in the Down South state, she made the philanthropic event a main priority. “We just can’t wait and depend on anyone else to help our communities, especially when they are obviously being overlooked,” Mac shared. “Based on Jackson’s history, this crisis is a result of systemic racism and economic inequality. So we have to step in and assist our people before things gradually get worse,” she added.

In a press release, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba thanked both women for their participation in providing water and medical assistance to the town. However, he noted that the job isn’t done. “There is still much work left to do as it pertains to upgrading and modernizing Jackson’s water infrastructure,” said the mayor. “I thank Dr. Tom Ellison and Project Help for enlisting the aid of the XXXTentacion Foundation and Ms. Cleopatra Bernard. The truckloads of water provided by the foundation [are] essential for our children and elderly. We are deeply moved by their actions… the doctors, volunteers, countless hours, exceptional expertise and time spent away from home to ensure that all Jackson residents have access to clean, reliable and safe drinking water,” he continued.

Along with distributing clean water directly to residents, the two ladies partnered with Project Help, who had their volunteer doctors offer medical attention to the people in town. Ellison, the founder and director of Project Help, a national medical-based nonprofit disaster relief organization with over 4,500 volunteer doctors, said that the water crisis has plagued everyone in town, especially toddlers and senior citizens.

“Not having access to clean drinkable water is detrimental to the health of anyone, especially infants, kids, and the elderly who have preexisting conditions,” said Ellison. In August 2022, the national media began noticing Jackson, Mississippi’s water crisis. The city sustained heavy rain, which resulted in massive flooding. More than 170,000 residents, including infants and children, were left without water. Locals were unable to drink, shower and flush toilets. Seniors and lower-income residents with medical needs were forced to choose between buying crucial medications or purchasing water. A boil water advisory was put in place to help with the issue. Still, the situation is far from resolved. According to Rukia Lumumba, chair of the Mississippi Rapid Response Coalition and sister of the city’s mayor, the water donated will only last a limited time.

“The water crisis has left over 150,000 residents under a boiling advisory. This will last at least a year or more. So we still need more water and water filters,” the chairwoman said. “The water crisis has created a medical emergency amongst affected individuals in Jackson,” she added.

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