Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks at UCSD

    Rev. Jesse Jackson came to speak out against Proposition 54 and show his support to Gov. Gray Davis on Oct. 5 at the Price Center Plaza in front of approximately 400 audience members.

    Tibora Girczyc-Blum/Guardian
    Voting power: Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke at Price Center Plaza on Oct. 5 about the importance of the youth vote in the Oct. 7 election, as well as about student fees and Proposition 54.

    The event was part of Jackson’s statewide Youth Vote Campus Tour, which stopped at various college campuses to discuss the importance of student voting.

    “”Whenever young America comes alive and chooses sacrifice over greed, whenever young America chooses hope over dope, and plans futures and not funerals, you always make America better,”” Jackson said.

    During the night, Jackson recounted stories of the 1960s civil rights movement and discussed how those same issues are still pertinent today. The topics he discussed varied from terrorism in America to economic problems.

    He also addressed the upcoming recall election, calling it the right-wing’s attempt to sabotage the governor by using the “”weight of media and all the weight of our anxieties.””

    Jackson encouraged the audience to vote “”no”” on the recall and to vote for gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante.

    “”The money used on this recall could be used in lowering tuition cost in this state,”” Jackson said. “”It is a misuse of money.””

    Defending the governor, Jackson pointed to the corporate corruption of those involved with President George W. Bush’s administration. He also argued that California’s budget crisis is being worsened by the attacks on Davis.

    “”We need negotiators, not terminators,”” Jackson said. “”Democrats negotiate, resolve conflict through some rational process.””

    Admitting that there are some dire economic problems in the state, Jackson pointed out that the crisis was also propagated by the Enron scandal, which he connected to the Bush administration. He also stated that California is only one among a number of states experiencing budget deficits caused by “”corporate corruption.”” Jackson also felt that the Bush administration’s tax cuts for the top one percent have contributed to the rise in student fees.

    “”You try feeding, you try watering a flower on the leaves and not on the roots,”” Jackson said. “”So you keep putting more money on the top leaf and not on the roots. We need to invest in health care, education, housing and job training from the bottom up.””

    His speech also addressed the controversy over Prop. 54, calling it a continuing attempt to “”undermine equal opportunity.”” He argued that the state needs to have the data that Prop. 54 would ban in order to maintain the present quality of life.

    Jackson also refuted claims that Prop. 54 is necessary to obtain a colorblind society.

    “”We don’t need the convenience of being color blind. Who strives to be blind?”” Jackson said. “”Those who are blind strive to see ‹ there is such virtue in being able to see.””

    Members of the audience were also allowed to ask questions after Jackson’s speech. Topics that were brought up ranged from current events to student activism. Students that attended the event expressed their opinions on what Jackson had to say.

    “”His comments were pretty much what we expected, but they were still insightful to a degree,”” said Eleanor Roosevelt College sophomore Sarah Piazza.

    For A.S. Vice President of External Affairs Harish Nandagopal, having Jackson speak to students, whether they agreed with him or not, was a way to help mobilize students to vote.

    “”Even for those who didn’t agree with him for what he believes in, we just wanted to see what he had to say,”” Nandagopal said.

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