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Jesse Jackson on The Drive with Steve Jaxon

Here is the interview that the Rev. Jesse Jackson gave to Steve Jaxon on The Drive earlier today, Feb. 10, 2017, after Rev. Jackson appeared at a presentation at the University of San Francisco.


Steve Jaxon:
Our next guest today appeared earlier today at USF (University of San Francisco), they hosted civil rights leader Jesse Jackson for a community conversation. It’s all part of USF’s African American history celebration. The event included a one-on-one interview with the Reverend and Dr. Charles B. Jones Sr., a former speechwriter, attorney and advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. Joining us right now, and we’re very honored to have him, Reverend Jesse Jackson. Reverend, how are you?

Jesse Jackson:
Good to hear your voice, my friend.

SJ:
All right. We sure appreciate you doing this. How did it go today? It sounded like a very nice event.

jesse jacksonJJ:
Well, very well. You know, the positive electricity of the audience at USF, I mean, there’s a sense in which people are anxious, even frightened about what’s happening in Washington. But people are in the mood to fight back and not retreat and that’s the good news. My concern is that we learn to, when trouble arises, turn to each other and not on each other.

SJ:
I’m sure there was a great turnout for this event today.

JJ:
Well, there was a great turnout, and a great multi-cultural audience. You know, one of my concerns is, while we appreciate it’s Black History Month, and we appreciate affirming ourselves, and our history. But in the context of what African Americans have a tremendous history here, negative for the most part, hostile. The Chinese Exclusion Act, that’s a bit deal. The Japanese internment camps, the immigrants coming across the border, the refugees fleeing the war zones, and yet they’ll become as refugees, as immigrants, and ex-slaves learning how to live together, … we’ll all be better off.

SJ:
Of course we want to talk about what’s happening in Washington now, but before that, can you give us a little history on how you hooked up with the Reverend Martin Luther King, and all those things that happened in the ‘60s.

JJ:
Well, actually I went to jail in 1960, trying to get the public library, that was the height of what began in 1955, and I was working with CORE and Jim Farmer and the NAACP and Roy Wilkins while I was in school, and Dr. King was kind of the spiritual leader of us all and I had been working with him in Selma in 1965. He came to Chicago in 1966 and he gave me a national assignment. I was with him until he was killed April 4, 1968. I worked with him, travelled with him, learned a lot from him, inspired by him, even to this day. I make sure it moves, he has remained in my mind, my frame of reference.

SJ:
You were actually at the Lorraine Hotel that day.

JJ:
We were in conversation. I was coming across the courtyard, we were in conversation when he was shot, April 4th, 1968.

SJ:
Well, now it’s 2017, things are going pretty damned crazy. I just want to get your take, in general, on where we’re headed here.

JJ:
Well, it’s a topsy-turvy season, in the sense that the winner lost and the loser won. And that’s a great concern, that Hillary got 3 million more votes and they used this outdated technical term called the Electoral College, which is rooted in slavery. That doesn’t make sense. And then the Russian hacking factor, the FBI involvement. And then, the lack of counting, suppressing the black vote in North Carolina and in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and in Milwaukee and in Detroit. So it’s a kind of divisive season, with Trump calling people names and the like, name calling. There’s a rather corrupted election process. And so basically I mean, he won the election but not with moral authority. And the moves he’s making are moving America into some real isolation positions.

He attacked, the Mexicans, our next door neighbors, … north and south America, two thirds of this hemisphere is South America. He challenges NATO and makes our European allies unsettled in Europe. He talks about the one China policy, threating to raise up between China and Taiwan, and the women in our own country. So he is on the attack. And he’s putting people in positions that are totally not qualified for their jobs. De Vos over at Education, never been to a public school in her life. That’s a bad decision. Sessions over the Department of Justice, who is rather against the Voting Rights Act. So we’re in for a difficult season. But I say to people all the time, it’s dark but the morning cometh and just because the water is deep, does not mean you will drown. Deep water doesn’t drown you. You drown when you stop kicking. You can’t stop kicking, we can’t give up.

SJ:
They probably asked you this on the panel today, but what’s next for the Reverend Jesse Jackson?

JJ:
I think what’s next is that we look at, in 24 months, the entire Congress is up for election, a third of the Senate is up for election. But right now we’re focussing on Silicon Valley. We’re training up to a thousand churches, teaching our children apps and codes and how to advance in the technology world, yet with some moral grounding. Because Silicon Valley is not just technology, it is also lawyers, ad agencies, marketing, common workers, employees, contracts, and so this is the industry of the future and we have a right to be in it at all levels, vertically and horizontally, and we’ll do that. So, I continue to work, I find fulfillment in my work.

SJ:
Well, I sure appreciate talking to you and have a great stay here in the Bay Area, and thanks again, Reverend.

JJ:
Keep hope alive!

SJ:
All right, thank you, you too. And he does!

For more information about Jesse Jackson visit this page on the website of his Rainbow Push Coalition: http://www.rainbowpush.org/pages/jackson_bio

Image from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jesse_Jackson_2013.jpg and https://www.flickr.com/photos/afge/10196156245/, cropped to portrait, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic, per the Wikipedia page.

 

 

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