Today, Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke on my campus to a crowded room of university and high school students. The Civil Rights leader and former presidential candidate (1984 and 1988) spoke of the hurdles Civil Rights activists faced including the famous Selma Bridge moment, Emmitt Till, and the Woolsworth Sit-In, as well as those of other minority groups including women and students. Students applauded and cheered at mentions of President Obama’s election, calling it an end to a 60 year battle. Students were also a topic, advocating for an elimination interest on student loans, “Why should banks get bailed out with zero percent interest when you, students, who aren’t even guaranteed a job upon graduation, be forced to pay seven percent interest?” Good question!
Rev. Jackson’s main focus was the importance of voting. Voting is the right of citizens, and the way that America can voice its opinion and practice democracy.To calls of “Amen” and repeated phrases, he spoke of Haiti, and that the United States had a debt to pay since the Napoleonic era, and that it should not be pitied, but instead lifted up, rebuilt and respected. Since Jackson’s speak was one directed at students, he really pushed forward the message of voting, and how it will impact the future.