Rev. Jesse Jackson in Philly!

This past weekend, The Reverend Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, internationally recognized civil rights leader and veteran of two presidential primary campaigns visited Philadelphia for a speech, visits to churches, and a rally on Sunday. “The Rev” has been traveling state to state speaking to voters about the importance of voting this upcoming election.

On Saturday night, Reverend Jackson gave a speech at the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists’ forum at the National Constitution Center, talking about the importance of the vote and of poor and working people in the electorate.  “Most poor people are not on welfare, they work for a living! They work at airports and drive cabs. They deserve a living wage,” he said.  “The poor must organize! 50 million people living in poverty are the swing vote!”  Jackson went on to link the vote to his history with the Civil Rights Movement: “I hear people say ‘you should vote because others died for that right.’  Really, you should vote because you might live.”  We also heard from local community members, including Fight for Philly’s Rodnea.

On Sunday morning, Rev. Jackson found time to visit an amazing FIVE churches around the city, speaking to congregations.

Sunday afternoon, over 300 people came out to Malcolm X Park in West Philly to hear Rev. Jackson address our “Get Out and Vote!” rally.  Philly hip hop and R&B group Common World kicked off the rally with a free concert as community members enjoyed barbecue from a local restaurant. After Common World rocked the crowd, we heard speeches from Fight for Philly members, John Jordan from the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, radio personality Brother Marcus, Terrance Meacham from the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, and others.

Fight For Philly member Caesar talked about how he has never voted before but sees the importance now.

He’ll be joining all of us at the voting booth on November 6!

The Reverend took the stage and immediately had the attention of the crowd after saying his first words: “I assume we all gonna vote. We have enough sense to register and vote.  We need workers to wake up the sleeping. We need workers to change the minds of those who don’t get it.” He declared Nov. 6 “Dignity Day,” urging everyone to skip work, knock on doors and help neighbors get to the poll. Rev. Jackson also touched on other issues like gun control and poverty.  Thanks for speaking to our communities, Rev. Jackson!

Check out a great article on the rally in the Philadelphia Inquirer here.  Our whole photo album is here.

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