The Steps Coalition (STEPS) is a grass roots, locally governed coalition of 45 non-profit, community, and civic organizations and leaders whose mission is to build a democratic movement to create a healthy, just, and equitable Mississippi Gulf Coast. Steps advances its mission by developing local leadership, supporting communities to advocate for their needs and by facilitating communication, coordination, and collaboration among our membership.
Our vision for the Mississippi Gulf Coast is to create communities worth calling home. Creating livable communities for all residents along the coast hinges on a commitment to five essential values: affordable housing, economic justice, environmental justice, preservation of historical communities, and human rights.
OUR FIVE PILLARS OF SOCIAL JUSTICE
We must ensure affordable housing for all residents if we are to have a healthy, diverse community and robust economy.
Prosperity is the key to a community’s health and sustainability. We must invest in all communities to support working families and the overall health of the residents of South Mississippi
As we share the benefits of our progress, we must also distribute the burdens. We must maintain a healthy balance between development, communities, and natural resources.
PRESERVATION OF HISTORICAL COMMUNITIES
Every community has the right to secure its cultural history, diversity, and quality of life. We must choose rebuilding solutions that promote diverse, family friendly neighborhoods that reflect the fullness of our history and heritage.
Fairness and equity are fundamental. We must insist that fairness and equity guide how we rebuild our housing and our communities, structure our economic and political systems, and as we work to create the healthy and sustainable communities worth calling home.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated communities along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. For many, the storm surge took with it their homes and businesses and left behind nothing but the steps to what were once their front doors. The steps left behind in the destruction of Katrina became a symbol for all that was lost and the hope for a recovered and more resilient Mississippi Gulf Coast. As we struggled to put back together what was taken from us, it became clear that responding to the challenges that lie ahead would require better coordination and collaboration. Though the storm did not discriminate in its path of destruction, the recovery efforts that followed brought to the surface and amplified the structural inequalities facing low income, underserved, and minority communities along the coast.
In June of 2006, a group of community leaders and social justice advocates formed the Steps Coalition with the purpose of identifying ways to enhance and amplify their work toward an equitable recovery in the new postKatrina landscape. Katrina unleashed a wave of setbacks that was made worse with the impact of the Great Recession and the BP Oil Spill Disaster, setting in motion an unforgiving series of obstacles for many individuals, families, and communities along the coast. Steps Coalition and our many partners continue to address the ongoing recovery needs while envisioning and advocating for the just and equitable systems necessary to create the communities worth calling home for ALL residents living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.