Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks at Callaway - - Jackson, MS

Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks at Callaway

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Reverend Jesse Jackson was in town Monday, speaking words of encouragement to a group of teens. He's also here in the capital city to implement programs to promote equality.

Jackson spoke to Callaway High students about the important role they will play in the November Presidential election.

"It's important to empower our youth and make them more responsible in their formative years. There are 8 million city college students in America, in universities. Those 24 million youth vote their interests. There are more 8 year olds than there are 81 year olds. If young America comes alive, they will in fact be the pivotal force in the 2012 election," said Jackson.

Jackson is also in Jackson to expand his Rainbow Push Coalition to the capitol city, a new chapter which will be led by New Jerusalem Church Pastor Dwayne Pickett. Their goal, eradicate poverty, promote peace and justice and end gun violence.

"A million Mississippians have no health insurance. Half of all blacks in Mississippi have no heath insurance. A third of the workers are below poverty and cannot afford health insurance. That's not good. We therefore want to have a fair distribution of resources for education, healthcare jobs and contracts," said Jackson.

Jackson also wants to hold Mississippi government responsible, for inclusion of minorities, calling for an audit of the state budget and contracts.

"The Mississippi Department of Education, the Mississippi Department of Transportation. All those agencies were going to deal with issues of equity contracts and jobs within the state," said Jackson.

Jackson wrapped up his speech by registering students to vote. He told the kids it was their duty to carry on the torch for so many who sacrificed their lives for their freedoms.

Reverend Jackson says in recent years, we've lost focus of what's important in schools.  He says more emphasis needs to be put on academics, and less on athletics.  He calls it the March Madness, May Sadness.  (Schools putting emphasis on athletes that perform great on the court or field, but then don't graduate.)

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