Calling the killing of the nine black members of the Emanuel A.M.E. church by 21-year-old Dylan Roof a â€œbrutal, political assassinationâ€ Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. said it was an act of â€œdomestic terrorism,â€ and his son, Jonathan, said Roof learned to hate.
â€œIt was a very strong act of terrorism,â€ Rev. Jackson said. â€œWhen someone leaves our country to join ISIS, thatâ€™s strange, but within our own country when somebody plots and plans to kill Americans, kill state officials and members of your church that it is what it isâ€¦. Itâ€™s innocent people who are being killed, unarmed without any provocation. This is a kind of anti- black tech mania that is a threat.â€
As a Chicago State University professor, Jonathan Jackson asked, â€œWhere did this young man learn to hate? The reason I am so concerned is that he is not a good student. I read his records that they posted online. They said he was disadvantaged.
â€œWho taught him about Rhodesiaâ€? Asked Jackson referring to the emblem on Roofâ€™s Jackson representing apartheid in South Africa. â€œ â€œI am concerned that this young man would have so much hate in him that on the 150th anniversary date, June 19, 1865â€¦it is not random that he went to Mother Emanuelâ€ church.
â€œThis young man went to the roots of the tree to try and take it down,â€ young Jackson said. â€œWhen you go after Mother Emanuel, you are going after the only institutions African Americans have ever hadâ€¦. He is not crazy. Heâ€™s calculated. Heâ€™s cold bloodied,â€ he said of Roof. Jackson said what Roof did â€œwas an at of domestic terrorism.â€ â€œWhere did he buy the gun? Who taught him to hateâ€¦?â€
The Jacksonâ€™s made their comments Saturday, the first day of Rainbow PUSH convention held at the PUSH headquarters, 930 E. 50th St. This yearâ€™s theme is: â€œBeyond The Bridge: Life Beyond The Edmund Pettus Bridge.â€
â€œWe want unity,â€ said Rev. Jackson. â€œWe have to take the glass out the wound for the wound to heal.â€
Jackson said this act of murder â€œis an embarrassment because the whole world looks out of the lenses of eightâ€¦nine people killed in church and the minister assassinated, an elected official who stood tall against gun laws. Is it embarrassment or remorse?â€
Jackson said it wasnâ€™t too long ago that South Carolina voted to â€œnot to have a hate crime law. Is it remorse? Susan Smith, a white woman who drove her two babies into the water and drown them. She said a black man did it who didnâ€™t exist, but they went looking for him.
â€œAbout two-months ago, it was Walter Scott was shot in cold blood by police in that same state. Is it remorse? â€œThe state is 25 percent African American but 75 percent are prisoners. Twenty-five percent are rented out every day on a prison lease program doing slave labor. Is this embarrassment because it hurts the tourism, or, is it remorseâ€?
Jackson, who addressed a number of social and economic issues, said one fourth of South Carolina is in poverty yet the governor rejected $10 billion Medicaid money â€œbecause it comes from the federal governmentâ€¦. Theyâ€™ve lost 1,000 students from South Carolina State and it is about to close because they will not accept federal education money to keep that school open.
â€œUntil we move beyond the embarrassment of the killings, remorse and change, we will not be satisfied,â€ said Jackson who said he has known Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was one of the nine killed who was also a state senator, a very long time. He and Pinckneyâ€™s brother was Jacksonâ€™s classmates.
At a press conference held after the Saturday morning broadcast where the Jacksonâ€™s were joined by several civil rights leaders including U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Jonathan Jackson said this is the 150 of June 19th â€œwhen General Granger went into Texas to inform the African Americans who had ben enslaved in this country that they too had been set three two-years agoâ€¦. They should have been a part of the governance and the enforcement of Lincolnâ€™s Emancipation Proclamation.â€
Jonathan Jackson, added, â€œAssassins think in these terms of strategic purposesâ€¦ This is a culminating event.â€ He believes Roof â€œwas guided, directed and steered towards this great African American churchâ€¦the oldest African American church South of Baltimore I do not think this was by coincidence.
â€œWith the Confederate flag above the state capitol where a member (Rev. Clementa Pinckney who was also a state legislator for 19 years) of their body has been assassinated. It goes to show you that there is something very foul in the air. We pray for the A.M.E. church and their families.Â â€œWe want to remove fear and hatred that people should not be afraid to go to church,â€ said Jonathan Jackson.
He commended Rep. Butterfield and the CBC in their work in expanding jobs and opportunity â€œand eliminating prejudice and hate and to continue to expand our democracy for voting that we stand in unison with the CBC under the leadership of Butterfield.â€
Rep. Butterfield said, â€œThis is not only the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth but also the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It was on January 31, 1865 that congress passed the 13th Amendment and submitted it to the states for ratification. It was finally ratified on December 6, 1865â€¦. The 13th Amendment was the final legal document that ended slavery. President Lincoln was assassinated April 14, 1865 during the time the 13th Amendment was being circulated to the states. Thatâ€™s a very powerful historical context that we should remember.â€
Referring to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Jackson said, â€œit is under attacked…nullified by the enforcement division in Shelby, Alabama on June 25, 2013.â€ He said that act now dilutes the black vote.
Butterfield said, â€œThe black community is in a state of emergency unlike anything we have seen in over 100-years. Not only is our right to vote under attack but the whole idea of 1 out 4 African American families living in poverty, 1 out of 3 black children living in poverty in every category you would review, you would see the statistics show we lag far behind and we must do better than that.â€
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.