On Sunday, we will celebrate a birthday. It is not Entergy Mississippi’s birthday, but a very important birthday in the life of our company. The State of Mississippi celebrates its bicentennial on December 10. This 200th birthday is a good time to reflect on the pain and progress of our past and celebrate the hopes and aspirations of our future.
Our home state in many ways is a study of humanity itself – capable of so much good…and bad. Those contradictions reveal themselves in a state that has endured racial strife and suffered from deep poverty and economic disparity. But it has also given birth to some of our country’s finest authors, musicians, playwrights, performers, artists, athletes, religious leaders, business people and humanitarians. The resilient Mississippi people have always been able to rise above the steep banks of injustice and division like the floods from the river that shares our name.
Entergy Mississippi has been a part of this state’s journey for almost half its life. During those years I like to envision Entergy alongside our state at its very best: a fan cooling Muddy Waters as he learns to heat up a guitar in a Delta summer; electrical surgical equipment at the world’s first heart transplant at UMMC; stadium lights for Walter Payton as he launches a Hall of Fame career; an air-conditioned auditorium where Medgar Evers organizes boycotts, and a desk light for Eudora Welty as she writes her Pulitzer Prize winner. Over the years the power we provide has gone from a novelty to a necessity, and our place alongside our customers has become a thriving, positive partnership.
Our product is not the only thing we’ve contributed to the Mississippi story however – we have contributed our people, too. The men and women of Entergy Mississippi have been here over the years to volunteer, give, develop, mentor and lead. We have helped bring jobs to Mississippi, sponsored its cultural pursuits, offered a hand to its needy and been a strong voice for its progress and a leader in its communities.
Today, I see a lot of what is good about Mississippi in my fellow employees. I see people of different races and backgrounds working together and accomplishing great things for our company and our customers. I see people who are devoted to the concepts of diversity and inclusion, fair play, hard work, teamwork, safety, service and community. I see real Mississippians.
Like many of you, I grew up in Mississippi and wish it the best on its birthday. I pray for its people and our collective future. I hope we leave our children and grandchildren a beautiful state with a quality of life that is the envy of the world. I hope its 300th birthday is celebrated by a people who cannot remember division and strife and know only peace and prosperity.
Finally, in celebration of our bicentennial, our employees, our customers and our continued service to this great state, Entergy Mississippi gave a $1 million gift to help make the Two Mississippi Museums a reality. The Mississippi History Museum and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum open Saturday, Dec. 9, and are an ideal venue for reflecting on and learning from our past and celebrating the hopes and dreams we have for our future.
PRESIDENT & CEO, ENTERGY MISSISSIPPI