Rev. Jackson: “We must fight the Right Now fight”

Rev. Jackson: “We must fight the Right Now fight”
May 10
10:12 2018

By Busta Brown

“I once asked Rosa Parks, I said ‘Mrs. Parks, why didn’t you give up your seat and go to the back? You could have been killed, or beaten. Five thousand lives have been lynched.’ She said, ‘I thought about going to the back, but then I thought about Emmett Till, and I couldn’t go back,’” said Rev. Jesse Jackson as he addressed the students, their families and faculty at Bennett College’s 2018 Baccalaureate Service this past Friday, May 4.

The Annie Merner Pfeiffer Chapel on the campus of Bennett College was standing room only to hear Rev. Jackson speak, and he didn’t disappoint the crowd, especially the Bennett Belles.

“Every time I visit North Carolina A&T, I have so much love for them. I appreciate the role we played in social justice. In 1960, four young men sat down in Woolworth’s, but if the girls of Bennett would have just stood and not fought back, it would have been just blowing in the wind,” Jackson said.

Jackson paused, tilted his glasses, looked directly at the Bennett College graduates and said, “Strong women keep on coming.”

The graduates and crowd roared for nearly 10 minutes! It was a powerful and much needed moment for young black women, because the mainstream media seems to ignore their voice and presence. Rev. Jackson continued to inspire the Bennett Belles.

“When Emmett Till was killed, his mother was the face for justice. At his funeral, she had an open casket. That image in that casket was seen by the world, and exposed America because of his mother’s courage. Strong women keep on coming.”

Rev. Jackson explained to the graduates that a degree is not enough. “You must think beyond the zone of ordinary. We’ve globalized capital, technology, athletics; we also globalized human rights, women rights and children rights. It’s not enough to have done this in the past; we must fight the Right Now fight. Right now, it’s not enough to have a degree if you don’t have enough money when you have a job, we must demand better paying jobs for every American.”

The founder of The Rainbow Coalition shared with the crowd that Right Now, most black people make less than $50,000, and the rest of them are credit card slaves, spending more than they make. He then had the graduates to repeat after him: “If I spend more than I make, that’s a recipe for suicide. I must do better.”

Once again the Bennett Belles and crowd gave Jackson a thunderous applause. He shared that Right Now, 4 million blacks in the South aren’t registered, and 2 million are registered but did not vote, “We must fight the Right Now fight.” As Jackson closed, he reminded the audience that the fight for justice and equality is not over. “We fought and got our freedom, and we went from being an asset, to being a threat. So we must continue to fight the Right Now fight, and don’t give up,” Rev. Jackson said.

He looked around the room, and then at the graduates, and gave them a warm and comforting smile, and then softly said, “You’re a Bennett Belle, you’re a whole person, you’re special, and you’re strong women. If [Donald] Trump can become president, there’s nothing you can’t do.” The crowd gave Rev. Jackson a standing ovation.
After the ovation, Bennett’s president, Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins; N.C. Sen. Gladys Robinson (D-28th District); and Dr. Julianne Malveaux, 15th president of Bennett College and president of PUSH Excel, presented Jesse with an honorary Doctorate Degree. He joked, “I always wanted to be a Bennett Belle, and I am.”

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