Former 1988 Presidential hopeful, Rev. Jesse Jackson, was brought to tears the night Obama won the 2008 Presidential election.
However, nearing the end of President Obama‘s 8 year run, Jackson now feels like Obama “failed” the Black community during his years in office.
President Barack Obama hasn’t leveraged the full force of federal agencies to target systemic and historical inequities that keep blacks in the U.S. behind whites in employment, opportunity and wealth, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. said.
The veteran civil rights activist criticized the president this week amid a nationwide campaign to inspire a sense of empowerment among African-Americans and accountability in government and corporations toward disadvantaged populations.
Jackson, who fought poverty and racism alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s, launched the campaign this year amid ongoing strife over police shootings in communities of color and economic inequalities.
He said the high rate of black unemployment has been a lasting consequence of slavery and past legal discrimination that Obama, the first African-American commander in chief, should have dealt with more directly.
“The unfinished business is this issue of targeting racial justice,” Jackson told International Business Times in a wide-ranging interview about ideas for lifting people out of poverty. Even as job growth has been sustained month-over-month during the bulk of Obama’s presidency, the recovery from the 2007-09 financial crisis has been slowest for African-Americans — and that has troubled both Jackson and economists.
“He has the view that racial injustice is something that requires a vote [in Congress],” Jackson said, referring to the president. “Blacks are without a targeted plan. Without one, we’ll never have an even playing field.”
Jackson said the president has experienced an unfair amount of opposition, much of it racially motivated, from conservatives in the federal government. But that should not have prevented him from directing his Cabinet to do more without Congress’ help, the civil rights leader added.
“It’s time not for a national police summit in places like Baltimore, but for an urban reconstruction summit, where all the agencies are used in that reconstruction,” said Jackson, who is president of theRainbow/PUSH Coalition, based in Chicago. “There is an opportunity to pull together government agencies — [housing, education, transportation departments] — and make something work.”
Does Jesse have a point, or is he being too hard on Obama? #MakeAStatement