Founded in 2009, the HLS Mississippi Delta Project is one of the newest student public service organizations at Harvard Law School. Across Harvard University, growing awareness of both the Delta’s enormous challenges and its great promise led to efforts at several Harvard schools to build connections between Cambridge and the multi-state Delta region.

MDP provides policy and legal services to our clients in the Mississippi Delta region. Mississippi is the poorest state in the U.S. and the Delta is one of its poorest regions. The Delta struggles with public health outcomes, segregation and the legacy of Jim Crow, poverty, and education, among other issues. Our three policy teams work with our clients to pursue long-term legislative and policy projects in many areas of need.

MDP doesn’t want to dictate how our clients or Mississippians should live their lives. We also don’t want to parachute in and impose our solutions. MDP instead focuses on a long-term, collaborative, dynamic approach of working with our clients to further their goals for how they think Mississippi and the Delta can improve. Sometimes that’s writing model legislation or pushing bills in the statehouse. Sometimes that’s talking with farmers or school administrators or public health officials to hear about their challenges. Sometimes that’s writing policy papers that our clients use to launch their campaigns. MDP try to help Mississippians push their state and the Delta forward any way we can.

Are you an HLS student interested in learning more about the Delta Project?

MDP always welcomes new members! We will have an information session at the beginning of the Spring Term, so students who were not able to join in the fall will have the opportunity to learn about our teams and join one of our ongoing projects. Details about those information sessions will be posted on this site as Spring Term rolls around.

Please also note that our website is in the process of being updated, and information on linked pages may be outdated. For the most accurate, up-to-date nformation, please contact the 2017-2018 Co-Chairs: Jonathan Topaz (jtopaz@jd18.law.harvard.edu) and Sarah Loucks (sloucks@jd18.law.harvard.edu). Thank you!

2017-2018 Projects

  • Food Policy Team: The Food Policy Team will continue working with the Farm to School Network to work on issues related to farm to school policy in Mississippi. This year, the team will be looking at barriers preventing potentially interested farmers from selling to schools and whether tax incentive legislation can be used as a way to incentivize farm to school.
  • Child and Youth Initiative: The Child and Youth Team will work with the MacArthur Justice Center in Mississippi to develop a police brutality toolkit. Our client has reported that police brutality is a major issue in Mississippi, but few in the state are working on the issue.
  • Economic Development Team: Economic Development will either be working on a project related to environmental justice and participatory government or legislative solutions to increase solar energy in low-income communities.

 

Harvard Law School is committed to the full inclusion of students with disabilities in the life of the University. Students requesting accessibility resources or accommodations in any of HLS’s Clinical and Pro Bono Programs may work with Accessibility Services in the Dean of Students Office. If you are a student with a documented disability and you are requesting accommodations, please contact HLS Accessibility Services to discuss and register for accommodations.