Jackson Tours Athens County To Declare War on Poverty

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Reverend Jesse Jackson was in Athens to continue the War on Poverty that President Lyndon Johnson started on Ohio University's campus almost 50 years ago.

Jackson visited WOUB's studios to be interviewed on the radio program "Conversations from Studio B."

Jackson says he wanted to come to Appalachia where it all started as a tribute to LBJ.

" It's hard to imagine America where blacks can't vote or women can't serve on juries or latinos can't vote by language or students can't vote on campuses.  It's hard to imagine that world. That's the world that Lyndon Johnson brought us out of," said Jackson.

Jackson will be giving a press conference this morning at 11 a.m. in front of Memorial Auditorium and says he hopes to inspire everyone there to join in the battle.

"So many people have become cynical, they've given up hope. They have stopped voting, they've stopped fighting.  They're just waiting for their plight to be matured and our point is don't give up hope and there's power in your hands, if it's used.  So now is the time to put a renewed light on poverty," said Jackson.

He says change happens when enough people care and that's why coming to a university is helpful.

"First, students must rise up and demand lower tuition, frankly, and make it a real protest because it's good for the university and it's good for america's future. Students have the right to register and vote and if we begin to vote, our hopes and not our fears, we have the power in numbers.  So, when young america comes alive, we have the power," said Jackson.

Jackson says he will ask the White House to create a commission on poverty because poverty continues to be an issue that congress isn't dealing with.

"You never hear these guys in congress arguing for poor people.  They're arguing for tax cuts, they're arguing for war, they're arguing for wealth. You would not think that there are poor people in their districts and yet their people are facing the need for public housing and public transportation," said Jackson.

Jackson will also make a speech at Baker Center at noon and tour Athens County.

Jackson's schedule includes a 2:30 pm tour on where he will visit several locations and speak with residents about the issues affecting their lives.