Race Relations Improving In Mississippi

JACKSON (WLOX) -- Starting from two groups with the goal of unifying blacks and whites and ministering to the Jackson area, Mission Mississippi has grown from small Sunday school type meetings to reaching over 150 thousand in 2007.  A labor of love for those who've been there from the beginning.

"To see that 15 years of hard work has resulted in a signigicant relationship, some really deep relationships, personal one on one relationships, cross denominational relationships," says Dan Hall, Mission Mississippi Founder.

But while they always believed they were making a difference, there wasn't any had proof, until now.

A state wide survey shows 70% believe race relations have improved, with over 90 percent believing more improvement is needed.

60 percent strongly agree spirituality can help close the racial divide in Mississippi.

"I'm excited about Mission Mississippi making a change," Mission Mississippi Founder Neddie Winters says. "I can honestly stand before people now and be validated by what people are saying that Mission Mississippi is making a difference."

But the work is just beginning.  What does the next 15 years hold for Mission Mississippi. Mission Mississippi President Dolphus Weary says changes will have to be made in the home.

Weary also says his goals in the years to come include doubling the twenty chapter groups currently in existence. Plus he hopes to reach the next generation of Mississippians.

"Parents are communicating stuff to children that's going to perpetuate racism in the future. If we can get parents to stop doing that, if we can get adults to stop doing that we will automatically reach the next generation," Weary says.

The fight continues, and Mission Mississippi has chapters in 20 cities across the state.