Rev. Jesse L. Jackson ignites next generation of Tenn. voters

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson with ministers and community leaders during his visit at Capers Memorial CME church. (photo by Kossie Gardner III)

Capers Memorial CME Church hosted a luncheon for Rev. Jesse L. Jackson recently. Rev. Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, fellowshipped with community leaders and held a brief question and answer session. Rev. Jackson is touring Tennessee in hopes of activating and inspiring young voters as we approach an important election season.

Rev. Jackson made stops at several institutions of higher learning, including: Lane College, Tennessee State University and Rust College in Mississippi. The purpose is to host forums that speak to the pulse of the young voters as they look forward to becoming respected community leaders of the future.

Jackson preached that there are four million African Americans who are not registered voters and that of the two million registered—most did not vote. According to Jackson: “People want to eat, but don’t want to farm.” He stressed that we, as a community, still have work to do and that we will not inherit a better future without working to create one.

“We must not grow weary,” Rev. Jackson exclaimed as his battle cry.

Building a Rainbow PUSH affiliate in Nashville was atop Rev. Jackson’s solutions for stimulating the voter base. He reminds us that “the key to the kingdom is relationships and recognizing that every hurdle is made far more manageable by building relationships and earning the trust of our fellow man and community.”

Dr. Joseph Webb, CEO of Nashville General Hospital, commented on the state of health care in Middle Tennessee. Webb said that he has done everything within his power to see that the hospital works alongside the surrounding community of Meharry Medical College, TSU, and Fisk University to improve health care for residents of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Dr. Webb joined Nashville General Hospital in January 2015 and has been working toward that goal since he arrived.

On the subject of health care, Rev. Jackson said: “Anyone who is fighting for affordable health care but not Obamacare is someone who wants an omelet but doesn’t want the eggs.”

Freddie O’Connell, District 19, City Council member, commented on the economic disparity currently being overwhelming due to gentrification in and around North Nashville.

Owner of Jack’s Bar-B-Que, Jack Cawthon, made clear that he supports Rev. Jackson and commented on the current battle for raising the minimum wage.

Cawthon says he is always looking for ways to improve the community and one of those ways is to ensure that all of his employees make over $15 an hour, more than the required minimum wage.

As the luncheon wrapped, Rev. Jackson urged the young voters to take hold of their futures and to never underestimate the power of the vote.