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Rev Jackson launches OBV voter registration poster campaign

Rev Jesse Jackson launches OBV's billboard voter drive poster

Civil rights leader Rev Jesse Jackson launched a voter registration billboard campaign in Westminster yesterday and praised moves to launch a Black Manifesto ahead of the general election.

The former US presidential candidate launched Operation Black Vote’s drive to combat lower voter registration rates among Britain’s Black communities with a message that people can change politics radically if they get involved.

Rev Jackson unveiled the a 100-foot billboard poster bearing the slogan “Expect the best from yourself and society. Register to vote”, and said that Black communities can swing the result enough seats to decide who gets the keys to Number 10 Downing Street.

Rev Jackson was the latest high profile international icon to visit the UK to inspire BME communities. Last month Rev Al Sharpton addressed a large OBV rally in London, where he delivered a hard-hitting message about the dangers of not participating in democracy.

Yesterday, Rev Jackson put a different spin on the message, saying that voting was essential if Black people were to get a fair slice of the economic cake.

He told OBV Blog that moves to publish a Black Manifesto shortly were “good for the healing of the whole nation” because the lesson from the civil rights struggle was that when you help the segregated you also help the segregators.

Standing beside the billboard poster, designed by the ad agency Ebb and Flow, he said: “This slogan is important because if we expect much, we receive much. So we must expect high expectations for democracy.

“People vote in their interests. Minorities want racial justice and laws that protect them. Yet we are free but not equal. If we want access to capital, we must get involved.”

Rev Jackson was a guest of Equanomics UK – a group with links to the civil rights leaders’ Rainbow PUSH coalition in the US – and The 1990 Trust.

He is due to visit a number of regional cities including Birmingham, Leicester and Bristol, and speak to students at Cambridge University.

OBV director Simon Woolley said: “The black vote is a sleeping giant that can decide who wins and who loses at the next election. In order to demonstrate our political clout we must first be registered to vote.
“The Reverend Jesse Jackson, a political icon across the world, joins OBV in launching this crucial message over the next few weeks.”

Brian Haley, a Haringey councillor who attended the poster launch, added: “This will make a difference at the election. We need a push to get our people out there [to vote]. We have a great opportunity to get out there and be counted.”

Rev Jesse Jackson and OBV's Simon Woolley

Rev Jackson is joined by Karen Chouhan and others

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Upstream from the Houses of Parliament

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One Response

  1. Jesse Jackson, Malik el Shabazz and Martin Luther King. All three pushed America along her long path towards pluralism. All three changed American history forever. Obama owes all three -big time – and should repay his debt by bringing Jackson in, out of the cold. Okay, Jackson said on live TV that he wanted to cut Obama’s nuts off. We all say things we regret. On the cusp of such an epoch defining moment, who can blame Jesse Jackson for not quite keeping it together? Obama will regret not showing his gratitude to Jackson while he is still alive.

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