Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, 66, passed away on February 25, 2014 at 4:55pm at St. Dominic Hospital in Fondren. The cause of death was listed as natural causes; the Mayor was a cancer survivor.
Mayor Lumumba had been in office since July 2013. Recently, voters passed a 1% sales tax increase for Jackson that would fund water, sewer and street repairs, a measure Lumumba championed.
Mayors from around the metro area lauded the late Mayor for his ability to reach across divides and bring people together.
Here in Fondren, residents took to social media to express their feelings about the Mayor’s untimely passing.
“I’ve seen a lot of people today say that Mayor Lumumba gave the city hope. That is not necessarily true. I already had hope. Mayor Lumumba confirmed my hope, proving to me that my hope was in perfect company with the good people. And that is a beautiful thing, to me. I love what he represented for the people, for his family, and for our city. We are not done. We have a lot of work to do. And we have a legacy to live up to that is bigger than all of us. Don’t let hope die. We can’t let that happen. And those of us who are true believers won’t.” – Garrad Lee
“So sad to hear about Mayor Lumumba. I believed in him. Let’s honor him, Jackson. He believed in US, too.” – Caitlin Cox
“I woke up this morning hoping the news of Mayor Lumumba’s death was a bad dream. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Jackson has lost a passionate warrior for justice and a champion for this city. After a contentious election this summer, the mayor invited us ALL to come to the table, and, as a result, this city united around his vision of a better capital city as we voted by a margin of 90% for the sales tax increase. May his vision and hope live on. Thank you, Mayor, and sincere prayers for your family, friends and our beloved community, Jackson.” – Reverend Rob Hill
“Mayor Lumumba exuded strength of character and purpose. He was a courageous leader for a city that needs all the courageous leadership it can get. I am thinking about his family and praying that they find comfort tonight.” – David Pharr
Through my dealings with Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, I found him to be reasonable, intelligent, and have the best economic interests of our Capital City at heart. He approached his duties with a level of collaboration that the City hasn’t seen in a long time. RIP, Mayor.” – Ben Aldridge
“When I think about the mayor I think about the man that many of us did not want. The man we fought against and voted against during the election. The man who probably wouldn’t represent us, the “privileged” class. After he was elected, I realized, Jackson got exactly what we needed. We needed a mayor who didn’t have my needs in mind but the needs of those without resources. Lumumba was a mayor who’s heart and passion was for the whole city. He was a man who wasn’t going to cater to the squeaky wheel only but who would take the time to listen to the meek and the quiet. He was an incredible leader. Jackson has truly suffered a great loss.” – Leslee Foukal