Jada Barnes has a vision for the youth of Marion County that has everyone coming together as one.
Barnes is currently a senior at the University of Mississippi studying political science and gender studies. She will graduate in 2023 and will attend the Mississippi College School of Law. She imagines she may go into politics one day.
Barnes attended her first NAACP meeting at 17 years old as part of her senior project at Columbia High School. Her mentor was Rev. Darrick McGowan. She joined that day and fell in love with politics instantly.
Having an opportunity to become a certified poll watcher gave Barnes a chance to be involved in elections and to be involved in vote tallying at the courthouse. She wants to serve jury duty but has yet to have the opportunity.
During the last legislative session, Barnes received an internship with House Clerk Andrew Ketchings. It was her job to run the house page program for students ages 13-18.
She worked a good bit with Rep. Ken Morgan, R-Morgantown, including getting the Columbia Wildcats football team up to the state capitol to be recognized for winning the Class 4A State Championship and the return of the training school land to Marion County. Barnes said she met a variety of people while in Jackson. Among those were Gov. Tate Reeves and Deion Sanders.
"The most exciting thing about my experience in the House was getting to touch the actual bills that would become laws," Barnes said. "I got to sit with the clerks as discussions went on. It was exciting to just be there for it."
Barnes has done the paperwork to charter a Marion County Youth Chapter of the NAACP for children of all races and ethnicities. She is in the process of recruiting members ages 12-18. She wants everyone to know this group would benefit all children. She would like children to know that they fit anywhere they want to be, even when they don't look the same.
"This will be a group of all of us trying to accomplish the goal of equality," Barnes said.
Barnes plans to have meetings once or twice a month to learn about history, equality, politics and other issues of interest to the group.
Interested parties can reach Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org or (769) 217-9753.