There is an old saying that the world is ruled by those who show up. If this is true, consider a new empire being born. A crowd of over 100 strong attended the first ever Team Jackson info meeting and luncheon at The South downtown yesterday. Team Jackson, a diverse collaboration of organizations and individuals from across the City of Jackson, follows in the footsteps of cities like Memphis and their Blue Suede Brigade or Little Rock’s Navigators. Steering Committee Chairman Ben Allen said this isn’t a new idea. “Every other community I know of has an organization like this,” he said. “I think people are hungry for it.” Karen Gilder, a communications committee member and publisher of PORTICO jackson in Fondren is thrilled with the development of Team Jackson. “The organization celebrates all that is good about the city,” she said. “I grew up in Jackson, so it’s important to me.”

Team Jackson is not for any particular part of the city, but a group geared toward bringing people from all over city and all walks of life together to let others know what each are doing. “We want active people who will roll up their sleeves with passion and desire to make Jackson a better place,” said co-chairman Bo Whittington, who also played a part in yesterday’s program spotlighting difference makers in the city. “We want Team Jackson to tell the real story. It’s the use of communal excitement that brings us all together to keep all of us informed about all the good that happens.”

Fondren’s Wier Boerner was highlighted as part of a keynote address on the Iron Horse Grill, reopening downtown later this year. The architectural firm has been on the project since 2008 to bring the historic establishment back as a restaurant, museum and live music venue. Investor Mark McCormack and Dr. Jim Brewer, founder of the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame, made the presentation.

Allen closed the meeting with a quote from Project For Public Spaces founder Fred Kent: “Give me a community with eight zealots and I can turn it around.” Indeed Allen believes Team Jackson — over 120 members strong — will help make a difference in the perceptions and the future of Jackson. He invites anyone, from any sector, be it a corporation, church or individual, to be a part of the momentum. Learn more at