Rev. Jesse Jackson Calls For Hope And Healing To Begin In Memphis

Rev. Jesse Jackson Calls For Hope And Healing To Begin In Memphis

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by Trennie L. Williams, PhDc

Hundreds of thousands of people have come from around the globe to Memphis, Tenn., commemorating MLK50, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many community leaders seek to take action that the would promote positive change for poor people in the community.

Rev. Jesse Jackson was in Memphis for over a week, before and after the April 4th vigil at the National Civil Rights Museum, to move forward with a revived poor people’s campaign that targets education, health care, and economic progress. He reiterated that Memphis is the place to begin change in America.

“Right here in Memphis is where America’s transformation must start anew,” Jackson said. “This place has great meaning. And this is the right place to be.”

“Revive the war on poverty. That means providing affordable health care for all people based on need. We also need affordable education, because if people cannot afford education, they cannot grow. And end so much violence. We must ban assault weapons and stop the killing. We are the most violent nation on earth.”

Memphis has one of the largest percentages of poor African-Americans in the nation. According to date, about 30 percent of Blacks in Memphis are in poverty. Nationally, 54 percent of African Americans are making less than $15 an hour. More than 25 percent of that number make $7.50 or less while working.

Revive the war on poverty. That means providing affordable health care for all people based on need. We also need affordable education, because if people cannot afford education, they cannot grow. And end so much violence. We must ban assault weapons and stop the killing. We are the most violent nation on earth.

Revive the war on poverty. That means providing affordable health care for all people based on need. We also need affordable education, because if people cannot afford education, they cannot grow. And end so much violence. We must ban assault weapons and stop the killing. We are the most violent nation on earth.

Revive the war on poverty. That means providing affordable health care for all people based on need. We also need affordable education, because if people cannot afford education, they cannot grow. And end so much violence. We must ban assault weapons and stop the killing. We are the most violent nation on earth.

“The big part of our quest today is economic justice,” said Jackson. “The poverty in Memphis is abounding, as well as in the Delta, Appalachia, and other parts of the South.”

Having affordable health care is extremely important when it comes to helping less fortunate people physically take care of their bodies while preparing for top earning opportunities.

“Just as social security is a base for poor people, affordable health care is a base for poor people,” said Jackson.

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Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks during a press conference at Mt. Olive CME Church in Memphis, Tenn., as tens of thousands of people converged at the National Civil Rights Museum for MLK50, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photo by Trennie L. Williams, Sr., Memphis Silver Star News/StarNewsVIP.com.)

A way to help younger citizens prepare for better jobs and entrepreneurship is through trade programs that begin in high school. This would allow teenagers to enter the workforce with some sort of skill that would afford them greater work opportunities.

“These (high) schools should have a trade component for teaching,” Jackson said.  “Along with teaching arts and skills, we must learn about computer technology, science and day-to-day trade skills. They (new generations of young people) must be taught, not by accident, but intentionally.

“Any rebuilding would involve trade skills. We should demand trade skills and computer skills for all of our children, black and white alike.”

A significant way to push trade school and trade skill efforts is by voting for elected officials who will make sure legislation is passed to fund trade programs.

“All high school seniors should be registered to vote,” encouraged Jackson. “Because of our young people, we still maintain our hope, with the tug of war in America for our souls. We go forward by hope and healing. Hope and healing is going to win this battle because we are going to vote like it.”

Jackson recognized election wins in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Alabama, and New Jersey that are beginning a change in local and federal governments. Four million African Americans in the South, however, are not registered to vote. Over 2.5 million who were registered did not vote last year.

“That will change,” said Jackson, remaining optimistic about the community’s effort to register more voters who literally go to the polls to submit their vote.

Boycotts, sit-ins and other actions are being organized to show corporate America that now is the time to significantly change. Jackson noted there are 20 corporations in the Memphis area that are to be challenged to help rid poverty. One of the companies is Kroger. Jackson announced a boycott against Kroger, a grocery store chain that closed several stores in highly-populated Black communities in the Mid-South area.

“We should challenge these companies, exposing their board of directors, their EOE reports, the procurement reports, and a fare share of jobs, contracts, and financial services.”

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