MIAMI – Jesse Jackson, a champion of civil rights and president of the Rainbow/Push Coalition, called on government and banks to pay attention to Miami-Dade County’s residents who are in need of jobs and help dealing with foreclosures.
Jackson was in Overtown Monday to show support for residents facing economic pressures and no relief.
Though organizers of the event called for 1,000 men to march from the Longshoreman Hall in Overtown to Miami-Dade County Hall, only about 50 men followed Jackson on the short walk.
Once at county hall, Jackson rallied people in the peaceful crowd, reminding them that national progress depends on citizens’ prosperity.
“We live in one boat, and when the water comes in, we all sink,” he said.
Jackson said the national unemployment rate of 9.7 percent does not reflect the 20 to 25 percent unemployment rate for brown and black people and in inner-city areas like Overtown and Liberty City.
“What do we need? Jobs,” Jackson asked and answered. “When do we need it? Now.”
Jackson said that although banks were bailed out with taxpayer money, they are not helping taxpayers with foreclosures or loan modifications.
“Bank of America has 1.2 million loans that are eligible for modification,’’ he said. “How many have they done? 98.”
Roderick Louis, owner of Louis Famous Foods in Overtown, said he doesn’t need a bailout or a job. Louis was at the Longshoreman Hall, seeking information to get a loan so he can buy equipment for the restaurant that has been in business since 1993.
“I didn’t go to the banks because I didn’t think they would give up any money,” Louis said. “You have to bring your whole life’s history to the bank before they lend you any money.”
Pictured above is the Rev. Jesse Jackson.