FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, July 7, 2018
A Victory for the People
A statement by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
CHICAGO – Today, we sent a loud and clear message.
We want change.
We want safe streets and good schools.
We want affordable healthcare and jobs that pay a livable wage.
We want justice for all, and until we get it, there can be no real peace.
Today, we the people by the thousands – black, white, red, yellow and brown – shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway. It was a massive, disciplined, multicultural, nonviolent march to protest the scourge of economic and gun violence and the disgrace of governmental indifference and hostility that claims the hopes and dreams – and far too often – the lives of our young people.
Shutting down the Ryan was a temporary inconvenience, compared to the permanent state of crisis in which so much of urban America is trapped. Stopping traffic is far less damaging than the shooting and the killing and the jailing that goes on every day on the South and West sides of Chicago and in other struggling neighborhoods across the country.
Today, we joined Father Michael Pfleger in declaring, “Enough is enough.”
Now we must demand a plan – an agenda for economic justice and urban reconstruction – that addresses the plagues of closed schools and closed hospitals and the lack of jobs. We must demand sensible gun control laws, including a ban on military-style assault weapons.
Just before we set off down the 79th Street ramp of the Dan Ryan today, I met 19-year-old Tyra Hemans, of Parkland, Florida. Tyra recently graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, where 17 students and staff were fatally shot last winter.
Tyra was at school that horrific day. She said she traveled halfway across the country to put her body on the line in Chicago, “because an AR-15 took three of my best friends away from me.”
Enough is enough.
People feel justifiably inspired because we had a victory today. But we can’t stop at the victory of marching, of shutting down a stretch of one of the busiest highways in the country for a couple of hours. We must have an objective, the objective of jobs and justice, of education and healthcare, of making the South Side of Chicago have the same resources as the North Side. It’s no longer a matter of racial segregation. It’s a matter of resource segregation. We must have our fair share of resources.
I’m sure that we got the attention today of the powers that be from City Hall to the Governor’s Mansion to the White House. We will get their attention even more if we continue our march all the way to the polls and the midterm elections on Nov. 6.
If we vote our hopes and dreams and numbers, we the people can shut down a lot more than traffic.
Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justicearound the world.
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