Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
View as List
42 / 100
Waikinya Clanton


Waikinya Clanton

Mississippi State Office Director

Sector:ACTIVISM/JUSTICEAge: 36Canton, MS
twitter outline2.0K

The Root 100 list prides itself on shouting out trailblazers like Waikinya Clanton. As the Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mississippi state office, Clanton partners with organizations throughout the region to do the long-term work necessary to eradicate racial injustice. A Mississippi native, Clanton is no stranger to the history of systemic oppression in the Deep South, which is why her work this year in Jackson, Mississippi has been so inspiring. Back in August, the entire nation turned its attention to the catastrophic water crisis in Jackson after the city's largest water treatment plant failed, leaving thousands of residents, businesses, schools and hospitals without safe drinking water. The city had already been under a boil-water notice for more than a month, and then came this crisis. Under Clanton's leadership, the Southern Poverty Law Center allocated $10,000 to bolster the efforts of the Mississippi Rapid Response Coalition, made up of more than 30 grassroots community organizations giving out water, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Working together with the city, coalition partners delivered water and other supplies to elderly and disabled residents who were unable to get to water distribution sites. They also rented vehicles from U-Haul and enlisted the help of volunteers who owned trucks. And when coalition members realized that some public drinking fountains had not been turned off, they petitioned the city to do so to prevent children from unknowingly drinking harmful water. At the apex of the crisis, Clanton was quick to call out the politics behind it: “What we’re seeing here play out in this water crisis is compounded not only by racial division, but by political division. It has been the motive of those with power to keep those who lack power without it. At the SPLC, our aim is to ensure that people living in poverty in the Deep South can get the help that they need from their local, state and federal government, and that they are not punished or exploited just because of the color of their skin or where their address happens to be.”

42 / 100