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Bishop Glake Hill Jr.
Bishop Glake Hill Jr. of Church of Christ Holiness USA writes an open letter to Jackson expressing his denomination's commitment to the growth and progress of the capital city. Photo courtesy Bishop Glake Hill Jr.

Our Collective Voices Can Bring Hope to Jackson, Despite the City’s Faults

Dear Jackson,

I want to write this letter to you, to first, introduce myself and then to share my heart with you. My name is Glake Hill Jr., and I am the presiding Bishop of the Church of Christ Holiness USA, a denomination founded in Jackson 126 years ago. We have been members of Jackson through good and bad, enduring in our city’s successes and struggles. We are excited to be a part of this city. It is our home, our birthplace. Each one of you are our brothers and sisters, and we are excited about you. We love our capital city, so our heart breaks as we see its struggle. We are disappointed when circumstances cause pain across the city. We mourn at the bad news, cheer for the good news and pray for the well-being of our home.

Perhaps the greatest strength of our city is in our diversity. You all come from a variety of backgrounds. Your personal experiences are different and vary from others who are reading this article. There is diversity in our ideology and politics; in our culture, race and gender; in our hobbies, our vocations and goals. There’s diversity in our religion, mindsets and our habits. Jackson, this wonderful city, is the home to this vast diversity.

It is this tapestry of people that makes me so excited and hopeful for the future of our city. The beauty of our diversity gives power to what the city faces. It is the collective will of diverse voices determined to live this city aloud that makes Jackson special—that is our Jackson.

Aerial view of downtown Jackson, Miss. The City With Soul (Jackson)
“The beauty of our diversity gives power to what the city faces,” Bishop Glake Hill Jr. writes. “It is the collective will of diverse voices determined to live this city aloud that makes Jackson special—that is our Jackson.” Photo courtesy Visit Jackson

Unfortunately, there are also those who are determined to limit that collective. They would rather you and I remain silent about our future and want you to belittle our city. There are those who want to point out Jackson’s failures and disappointments so that we may be wrestled into hopelessness. Memes with potholes, articles of misinformation about our water crisis, and jokes about crime are prevalent, and each one takes a small piece of our hope. Over time, if left to its own intentions, we will be convinced that there is no hope for our capital city.

But that’s simply untrue (My momma won’t let me say “lie”). It’s untrue because you are our hope. The collective voices that cannot be silenced are the weapons for this challenge. The people that have decided that this city is special and that it will not be taken are the champions of our change.

Yes, we need more money. Yes, we need state and federal help. But most of all, this city needs you. To every person reading this, understand that you are the hope. You matter. You are critical. You are impactful. And if this city is to survive, more than anything, we need you. I need you.

The members of our church stand ready to build Jackson. Our denomination will not abandon our city, and we will speak to its success. We will use our voice to empower the voiceless and then wield our collective power to stand up for the powerless. We have been here 126 years and we are determined to be even longer.

Thank you for making this city special. Thank you for giving me hope. Thank you for being our family. The Church of Christ Holiness USA loves you, Jackson. It is a pleasure being in this wonderful city with you.

Your fellow citizen,
Bishop Glake Hill Jr.
Presiding Bishop, COCHUSA

This article is republished from the Jackson Advocate, a Black-owned and operated newspaper serving as “The Voice of Black Mississippians” since 1938. Read the original article here.

This MFP Voices essay does not necessarily represent the views of the Mississippi Journalism and Education Group, the Mississippi Free Press, its staff or board members. To submit an opinion for the MFP Voices section, send up to 1,200 words and sources fact-checking the included information to We welcome a wide variety of viewpoints.

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