On Wednesday, August 7, federal immigration officials raided several food-processing plants in Mississippi, arresting approximately 680 people who were believed to be working in the U.S. illegally, reported NPR writer, Richard Gonzales.
One of the food-processing plants that was raided was Koch Foods, Inc., which is located in Forest, MS, the county seat of Scott County, one of SR1’s three target areas.
Forest has a total population of approximately 5,608 people, with 49.6 percent of the population identifying as African-American; 25.1 percent Hispanic/Latino; and 24.8 percent Caucasian (U.S. Census Bureau, 2017); however, Forest Elementary, the only elementary school within the Forest Municipal School district and SR1’s Forest site school, has a slightly different demographic.
African-American students make up approximately 44.62 percent of the student body, Hispanic/Latino students make up approximately 37.44 percent of the student body, and Caucasian students only make up approximately 12.31 percent of the student body (MDE, 2018).
According to a 2019 report of the 10 Mississippi Cities with the largest Latino Population, Forest ranked number one.
With a high population of Hispanic/Latino people, the city of Forest was definitely affected by the ICE raids; however, it was not just the adults, but also their families, including their children, who were affected.
“Parents were hugging their children and crying while ICE officials stood by to take the parents with them,” described an assistant teacher at the local elementary school. “It was hard to watch.”
Because Forest is an area that SR1 serves, and because Forest Elementary is SR1’s target school in Forest, SR1 felt the need to give back to the community to help provide some essentials, such as: food, water, and other items that were needed for families.
The foundation of SR1’s proven Education Model is community building, so when a community that SR1 works with was going through a tough time, they were compelled to step in.
Though SR1 strives to build students’ academic and social skills, their service goes well beyond the classroom.