/Jessica L Carter Focusing on a passion for public education

Jessica L Carter Focusing on a passion for public education

Mississippi Nonprofit Mississippi News Jessica L. Carter, executive director of Ours To Change is a Mississippi nonprofit that focuses on civic engagement as well as advocacy for public education. Carter was a youth advocate at the Southern Poverty Law Center before returning home to Ours To Change. She also worked with Democracy for America in the National Organizing manager role. We had a chance to sit down with Carter and ask her some questions about Mississippi’s organizing landscape. Ours To Change supports full funding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, and raising teacher salaries to the Southeastern average. Your mission statement at Ours To Change is to advocate for public education in Mississippi and encourage civic engagement. How does this look in practice? It would be having a presence all over the state. Also, the ability to have conversations with people who feel that no one has ever reached out to them. Many people feel that they are only heard from when they ask them about their opinions around election time. We don’t want them to feel like they only want a vote. We want them to be involved in the political process and to know how to get involved. We want them to know they can count on us to provide education. Your work at Ours To Change is different from others. You have experience in community organizing at various levels and with different agencies. I have had a long-held passion for public education and Ours To Change has allowed me to concentrate on it. I am a product of Mississippi’s public education system. I have seen many of its successes and pitfalls and have always longed to be able to make an impact. What has your work in the past influenced what you do now? The SPLC was one the most rewarding experiences of my professional career. I was able work in juvenile justice. This was also a large part of my job. Many children were forced from their schools and public education by circumstances beyond their control. As a Mississippian, I can tell you that there were many things I wish I could have done differently. DFA had a national perspective. It looked at civic engagement on a national scale. As a Mississippian, I wanted to be more focused on Mississippi. During the Stacey Abrams election, and other national campaigns, I was focusing more on other states. That excitement was what I wanted to bring back to Mississippi. What unexpected obstacles did you face as you grew your organization into a state-wide entity? Everyone would agree that there is a lot to be done. We’re digging our hands deep into it. As our team grows, there is still much to learn and experience. We are up for the challenge and excited to work on public education in Mississippi for all students who would benefit from fully-funded public education. Ours to Change Mississippi’s mission includes being a resource for voters. Website of the nonprofit reveals that voter registration ends on October 7._x000D