A New Pilot Program In Mississippi Hopes To Help Low Income Black Mothers In A Major Way

The income pilot is part of a larger experiment to study how the additional income affects the participants' lives.

Photo credit:Springboard to Opportunities

| September 13 2018,

5:03 pm

Imagine being a black mother, struggling to make ends meet, and suddenly you're told you will be given $1,000 of additional income a month.  

One particular initiative, the Magnolia Mother's Trust, is striving to do just that in a pilot program featuring 15 low-income black mothers living in Jackson, Mississippi. Each of the 15 women will receive $1,000 every month for a whole year.

According to Business Insider, data from the pilot program will be analyzed in order to determine how the additional income affects the lives and health of the mothers and their families over the course of the year.

According to Data USA, 80 percent of Jackson's residents are black. And according to US News, Mississippi has the highest poverty rate of any state in the country.

Although median income has been rising in recent years, in 2018 the Federal Reserve Board found that Americans continue to struggle to save and to pay down debt. For instance, according to a board report from 2018, 40 percent of Americans would be unable to cover an unexpected emergency that required $400 in cash.

With income inequality becoming a growing concern among progressives, the idea of a universal basic income has begun to pick up steam. Stockton, California began a universal basic income pilot early this year.

In Jackson, Magnolia Mother's Trust hopes the pilot will help recipients to live better lives, and to have better outcomes for their children.

"We believe all people have the strength and capacity to be the authors of their own lives," Aisha Nyandoro, one of the architects of the program wrote in a guest column for the Clarion Ledger. "And just as so many women did during the civil rights movement, they have the capacity to write a better story for their communities and, ultimately, for Mississippi. For too long we have allowed ourselves and our fellow community members to live in the story of shame, mistrust and marginalization. But The Magnolia Mother’s Trust seeks instead to continue the story of dignity, empowerment and collaboration that also defines Mississippi."

Nyandoro and the Magnolia Mother's Trust hope the 15 women will be the beginning of something larger. They hope to expand the program to include 100 families within three years.


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