Mississippi Center for Justice (MCJ)

Nonprofit, public interest law firm founded 2003 and committed to advancing racial and economic justice. Headquartered in Jackson, with offices in Biloxi and Indianola.
Organization website

Primary geographic focus: Mississippi
Organization type(s): Provider
Acronym or short name: MCJ

Mississippi Center for Justice is a nonprofit, public interest law firm committed to advancing racial and economic justice. Supported and staffed by attorneys and other professionals, the Center develops and pursues strategies to combat discrimination and poverty statewide.

Mississippi Center for Justice was organized to address the urgent need to re-establish in-state advocacy on behalf of low-income people and communities of color. Since its beginnings, the Center has advanced social and economic justice in Mississippi

When the Mississippi Center for Justice opened its doors in 2003, it did so with direction from its board to attack a laundry list of policies that keep Mississippi at the bottom of nearly every indicator of human well being. It would require untangling well-entrenched policies that seemed perfectly designed to deny poor and African-American Mississippians access to meaningful opportunity to advance themselves.

Today, progress is being made. As a home-grown public interest law firm, the Center is advancing racial and economic justice through an approach that combines legal services with policy advocacy, community education and media advocacy. The Center partners with national, regional and community organizations and volunteers to develop and implement campaigns that are creating better futures for low-wealth Mississippians and communities of color in the areas of educational opportunity, financial security, access to healthcare, affordable housing and community development.


News Story

In America’s Payday Loan Capital, Innovative Microcredit Helps Break The Debt Cycle

Christina Wilkie
Huffington Post
June 20, 2015
How an innovative microcredit partnership is helping to break the cycle of debt by providing alternatives to predatory lending.

News Story

Jackson 5th worst in eviction, Mississippi 8th

Jerry Mitchell
Clarion Ledger (Jackson, MS)
April 12, 2018
More than 24 people on average are evicted each weekday in Jackson from places they are renting — the fifth highest rate among cities of more than 100,000.

News Story

Families Affected By Mississippi ICE Raids Scramble To Find Support

Debbie Elliott
August 13, 2019
The Mississippi ICE raids swept up nearly 700 undocumented workers from several food processing plants last week.

News Story

Groups to sue Trump administration over rule making it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens

Sunny Kim
August 12, 2019
Approximately 380 workers remained in federal custody at three different Immigration and Customs Enforcement processing centers in Louisiana and Mississippi after the raids Wednesday. The three centers are Pine Prairie, LaSalle and Adams County, said ICE spokesman Bryan Cox. About 300 had been released, many of them parents, after video circulated of children left in tears because no one was there to pick them up after school.


Advocates Scramble To Help Mississippi Families Caught Up In ICE Raids

Debbie Elliott
National Public Radio (NPR)
August 12, 2019
AMELIA MCGOWAN: Many of these cases are going to be very long. They might take years to finish. And so we want to make sure that we have a sustainable network in place to really support people through the entire process.

News Story

‘How as a Community Can We Move Forward?’ Uncertainty Lingers After Mississippi ICE Raids

Jasmine Aguilera
August 9, 2019
Immigration attorney Amelia McGowan says she didn’t know the severity of Wednesday’s raids when she received her first call from a client who said relatives hadn’t come home from work.

News Story

How To Help The Families Impacted By The Massive Mississippi ICE Raid

Tiffany Diane Tso
August 9, 2019
The Mississippi Center for Justice is looking for people to provide legal assistance to the hundreds of immigrants impacted by the ICE raids. Fill out this Google Form if you are licensed attorney interested in helping out. You can also donate to their fundraiser on Facebook.

News Story

U.S. defends secretive Mississippi ICE raids as local, state officials decry effect on children

Nick Miroff
Washington Post
August 8, 2019
Amelia McGowan, an attorney for the Mississippi Center for Justice, said she believes the state was targeted because “there is very little legal support” for immigrant communities there.

News Story

“Constant fear” persists after massive Mississippi raids on undocumented workers

Camilo Montoya-Galvez
CBS News
August 8, 2019
In what officials touted as the largest single-state immigration enforcement sweep in U.S. history, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents rounded up nearly 700 undocumented immigrants at seven food processing plants in Mississippi on Wednesday.

News Story

How To Help The Families Impacted By The Massive Mississippi ICE Raid

Tiffany Diane Tso
August 9, 2019
On Wednesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided multiple food processing plants in Mississippi, arresting and detaining 680 people, in the largest workplace sting in a decade.

News Story

‘Jails in every sense’: After ICE raid, what’s next for those detained?

Sarah Fowler
Mississippi Clarion-Ledger
August 10, 2019
After U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's largest immigration raid in at least a decade, those 680 people initially detained at poultry plants in Mississippi Wednesday are facing an uncertain future.

News Story

300 Migrants Released on Humanitarian Grounds After Mississippi Raids

Aline Barros
Voice of America (VOA)
August 8, 2019
Hundreds of immigrant workers detained in Mississippi were released Thursday, a day after federal agents arrested 680 undocumented migrants in raids on food-processing plants, the largest such operation in the United States in 10 years.

News Story

Undocumented Workers Provide Employers With Little Risk, Large Reward

Asher Stockler
August 16, 2019
The campaign against undocumented laborers escalated to its most severe crackdown in over a decade when federal agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided five poultry processing facilities in Mississippi last week, sweeping up 680 people on suspicion of unlawful status.

News Story

Mississippi’s immigrant families struggle amid dwindling resources after ICE raids

Alex Rozier
Mississippi Today
December 30, 2019
Those detained in August aren’t able to work. “So you’re living in this limbo where you can’t do anything, and that’s even when you’ve been released,” said Amelia McGowan, senior attorney with the Mississippi Center for Justice.


After terrifying ICE raid, Mississippi is still fighting back

Amelia McGowan
USA Today
October 3, 2019
Families are still separated, and lawyers are still pushing back against slanted justice system.

This page last modified: Wed, April 15, 2015 -- 8:28 am ET