L-R: Mr. and Mrs. Winokur of the Winokur Family Foundation and Christopher Masingill, Co-Chairman of the Federal Delta Regional Authority

By: Ona Balkus
Clinical Fellow at the Food Law and Policy Clinic
Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

The 5th Annual Harvard Mississippi Delta Celebration is an annual celebration of the work students and faculty from schools around Harvard University are doing to improve economic, health, and social conditions in the Delta region of the United States. Student organizations and faculty focus their efforts towards this region because it has historically faced high rates of unemployment, poverty, and less access to higher education. The Celebration, in its 5th year, is made possible annually with the generous support of the Winokur Family Foundation and hosted by the HLS Mississippi Delta Project and the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation.

This year’s celebration, held at Harvard Law School on Wednesday, November 20th, highlighted a wealth of projects members of the Harvard community have engaged in over the past year, including: the HLS Mississippi Delta Project’s pro bono legal and policy work for its partners in the Delta; the HLS Spring Break Pro Bono trip to improve food access in Clarkdale, MS; the Harvard Water Security Initiative’s project to study flood control and environmental issues related to the Mississippi River; Harvard Kennedy School’s Community Development Project’s community engagement work in Greenwood, MS; students assisting state legislators through Mississippi Policy Partners, a partnership between Harvard and the Mississippi NAACP/One Voice; Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative Alumnus Raymond Jetson’s urban civic engagement project Metromorphosis, based in Baton Rouge; and the impressive efforts of the Harvard Law School/Mississippi State University Fellow, Desta Reff, and the first ever Harvard School of Public Health/Mississippi State University Fellow, Maya McDoom, both supported by the Winokur Family Foundation.

Continuing in its success from past years, the event was a great opportunity for students and faculty to meet, network, and build relationships for future collaboration. The Co-Chairman of the Federal Delta Regional Authority, Christopher Masingill, was a guest of honor at the event this year. He closed the celebration by thanking the Harvard community for all of its work, emphasizing the significant impact these projects are making to improve quality of life in the Mississippi Delta region.