South Mississippi Strong: TNathan Fairley chopping away at insti - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

South Mississippi Strong: TNathan Fairley chopping away at institutional oppression

Slocial activist TNathan Fairley prepares before a Facebook live protest at a Civil War monument at the Gulfport courthouse. (Photo Source: WLOX) Slocial activist TNathan Fairley prepares before a Facebook live protest at a Civil War monument at the Gulfport courthouse. (Photo Source: WLOX)
HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

To some, he’s an irritant, but to others, he’s the new face of civil rights in South Mississippi.

No matter how he’s perceived, there’s no doubt that TNathan Fairley is making waves that continue to pound away at the walls of institutional oppression.

“I’m here this morning to bring a message,” Fairley says as he begins a typical Facebook live session.

He is always on his phone and always on the move. He lives on adrenaline, motivation and anger.

“Yeah, I think it goes back to what we talked about: how do I remain calm. I said I stay angry. Because that anger is used to fuel the fight," said Fairley. 

When he’s not in the middle of an issue, he’s in his car going to one. “I am always on the go,” he says as he drives to his next appointment. “Always on the go. I think I sleep like four hours a night.”

Fairley is active with just about any group battling injustice, oppression or racism. He explained, “It’s what I have to do. It’s like a calling almost to help people. I’ve been a taker from society for too long. And it’s time to give back something.”

His paying job is as a radio station producer. His volunteer job takes him to the front lines of combustible issues, including the battle to remove the state flag and take down Confederate symbols.

“Those things have to go,” he says. “Those symbols have to be removed and then the dialogue about honest heritage has to happen also. We have to acknowledge the mistakes and the flaws of all that are involved and how we move forward with this social construct we call race.”

His social outreach also includes fighting HIV/AIDS, which has devastated the black community. “All these share the same basis, the same foundation in this state,” he says. “It’s the fact that these are social justice issues and to address one is to address them all.”

In the last month, his involvement has helped save the job of a black security guard at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, initially suspended after a confrontation with a group called The Delta Flaggers.

He’s not afraid of the backlash, and he’s not afraid for his safety.

“I could have died at any given time in my life doing some of the things I was doing that were not as large in scope as struggling to move forward with a people,” Fairley says. “So, to obsess about it now when I'm doing the right thing is just a waste of time.”

Fairley says satisfaction for this kind of work is elusive. He noted, “At the end of the day, I don’t sit back and say this is good. I think it’s at the end of a lifetime when I reflect and the good has outweighed the bad and that we have made substantial effort to move forward.”

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