In the same way he mobilized thousands as a young soldier in the civil rights movement, Rev. Jesse Jackson is aiming to stir the next generation of preachers in a new battle for social justice.
As a guest speaker Sunday at the Community of Hope AME Church in Temple Hills, Maryland, Jackson launched into a series of call and responses and alter calls similar to what he did in churches across the country decades ago.
“People in a hole don’t need a lecture, they need a rope,” he told the congregation.
During his 1984 and 1988 presidential bids, Jackson brought together a powerful Rainbow Coalition of African-Americans, women, Latinos and whites, and he said it can happen again.
“We have to defend the gains that we have made, it is not just about us,” Jackson said after his sermon. “People of shared interest most come together.
“The poor people of Appalachia, some who turned to Trump, now have voters remorse,” he said.
Rev. Tony Lee, pastor of the Community of Hope, said he was honored that Jackson called and asked to preach and that he hoped the civil rights icon could galvanize a new generation like those he motivated when he created the Rainbow Coalition.
Lee, a leader in the National Coalition For Voter Participation, said Jackson’s message is needed today because President Donald Trump is trying to reverse gains African-Americans have made in the past 50 years.
“We have to make sure that the needs of our people are met,” Lee said. “We need to organize nationally and locally as we deal with various challenges like what is happening in the Justice Department.”
Jackson said he plans to hold a Rainbow Coalition convention in July, during which faith, civic and political leaders can craft a common agenda for change.
“People of shared interest must coming together,” he said. “We must not surrender in the face of this onslaught, surrender to our fears, we have to use our votes to build coalitions.”