Project Updates

Mississippi Today covers the ROOTS of Sunflower County

Ashley Norwood of Mississippi Today covered The R.O.O.T.S. of Sunflower County’s exhibition opening at the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, MS. The ROOTS participants, as well as Advocacy Coordinator Aisha Carson and StoryForAll Founder Angela Zusman, spoke to Mississippi Today about the project’s purpose and continuing narrative change in other communities.

Find the full story here,

Reclaiming Our Origins Through Stories Museum Exhibit

Reclaiming Our Origins through Stories Exhibition

Collected by 19 African American teenagers from across Sunflower County who are working towards improving outcomes for young men and boys of color, this exhibit sheds light on the experiences of young people growing up in the Mississippi Delta.

Meet the young men of R.O.O.T.S. and view a short documentary of their journey during a special reception that precedes the exhibit on March 30, 2017 at the B.B. King Museum. The exhibit will remain on display through April 28, 2017.

“School House Rights Rock”

The R.O.O.T.S of Sunflower County, a group of 19 young men assembled as a part of the Sunflower County Systems Change Project, participated in the 2nd Annual School House Rights Rock event hosted by the American Civil Liberties Union of MS and the Mississippi Center for Justice. The program took place at Mississippi Valley State University and was designed for middle and high school students, parents, and advocates. The day consisted of workshops on restraint and seclusion in schools, encounters with law enforcement, schoolhouse rights, and civil rights. ‘The R.O.O.T.S’ are committed to narrative change in their communities and had  the opportunity to speak with adults and students alike about their experiences in school and with law enforcement; in addition to inquiring about people’s perceptions of Young Men and Boys of Color in their community. Their goal is to collect stories from the community to form an oral history archive, providing a space to tell the stories of others as well as their own.

“Discipline means teach, but we have turned it into punish.”

The SCSCP Project Team and Advisory Council traveled to Miami, Florida  to learn more about the innovative work being done to positively impact students and dismantle the pipeline to prison. SCCSD Discipline Coordinator William Murphy wrote of his experience in Miami and how it shaped changes in the district’s new dress code policy.

“Discipline means teach, but we have turned it into punish.”
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Youth Voice

The SCSCP is looking for Young African American Males grades 9th-11th in SCCSD to participate in an ongoing project. The youth voice is essential to changing the narrative for YMBOC. This component of the project is a groundbreaking youth development and community transformation initiative, which amplifies the voice of YMBOC. It’s time for young men’s voices to be heard, and for their voices and wisdom to set the course for the transformation of the Sunflower County community. Be part of this initiative that encourages the youth voice of Sunflower County. The project will involve recording and archiving audio and video footage, conducting interviews, producing and presenting at community events, contributing to decisions and planning for your community, in addition to also gaining research communication public speaking and career skills practice mindfulness and leadership skills. All participants will receive quarterly stipends. Young Men interested in the program can submit an application to the Mississippi Center for Justice by May 31st. Applications can be found at the Mississippi Center for Justice at 114 Court Ave, Indianola, MS or you can download the application here. SCSCP Youth Application

Advisory Council


The SCSCP Advisory Council met for the first time on last Thursday, March 24th. The goal of the Advisory Council is to bring together people in the community, school district, and other stakeholders to provide their unique perspectives on creating positive pathways to success for YMBOC. The advisory council will grow over the course of the next few weeks. The aim is to ensure that each facet of the community is represented in an attempt to truly embody systems change county wide. The council will meet once a month to discuss, learn, and initiate change regarding the three systems this project seeks to address- school district, juvenile justice, and media.

Changing the Narrative

The SCSCP seeks to encourage a positive narrative about Young Men and Boys of Color (YMBOC) in the Sunflower Community. Do you know of any young men doing something positive? Are you a young man doing something positive in the community? We want to know your story! Please contact the SCSCP team to be a part of the narrative change by telling positive stories about YMBOC.

Informing the Community

The SCSCP team traveled around the county to speak with community members, students, parents, and teachers to understand the perceptions of Young Men of Color in the community and attitudes surrounding discipline in school. We are excited to share with you all what we heard from people in the community. The SCSCP team is using the information to create a data report that will be available to everyone in the near future. Please stay tuned for updates about the release of the SCSCP data and how you can become involved in changing outcomes for Young Men and Boys of Color in the Sunflower community.

Traveling the Country to Find What Works

“Dr. Debra Dace Superintendent of SCCSD and Mrs. Miskia Davis Assistant Superintendent along with the Sunflower County Systems Change Project Team traveled to Oakland California for the African American Male Achievement (AAMA) Symposium. The Symposium brought together people from all over the country to view a unique model in Oakland Unified School District that specifically addresses African American Male success in public schools. The model provided the team with insight into addressing male achievement in the SCCSD and how the Sunflower County Systems Change Project can work to create positive outcomes similar to those represented in the success of AAMA in Oakland. For more information about AAMA please visit the Oakland Unified School District’s Website.

Join the Conversation

Use #SCSystemsChange to join the conversation around authentic systems change!