50 years of civil rights leadership: U-M honors the Reverend Jesse Jackson

November 17, 2016

On November 16, "50 years of civil rights leadership: A U-M symposium in honor of Rev. Jesse Jackson" drew hundreds of guests and national media coverage. After a morning panel on "Transforming the party: The enduring significance of Jesse Jackson for President" and an afternoon panel on "Common Ground: A dialogue across decades of student activists at Michigan," the Reverend Jesse Jackson joined nearly 1,000 students on the Diag for a walkout at which organizers decried hate crimes and called on the University to provide protection for undocumented students and other students of color.

At 4:00 p.m., nearly one thousand came to Rackham Auditorium to listen to the Reverend's keynote address, "What's next for us: Hope and reflection." During his talk, the Reverend told students they were not our future, they were our now, and encouraged them to continue to act and advocate for social justice and equality. The Reverend spoke extensively about voter suppression, and proposed a new, constitutionally based voting rights act that would require states to permit same day voter registrations, early voting, and more. 

Following his talk, the Reverend engaged in a Q&A with Bankole Thompson, the Detroit-based journalist and radio host. Together, they discussed the Flint water crisis, President-elect Trump's administrative appointments, and more. The event was capped off by performances from students and faculty of U-M's School of Music, Theater, and Dance.