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Rev. Jesse Jackson Makes Sense for Once

By Prescott Carlson in News on Oct 20, 2009 2:20PM

In the aftermath of the beating death of teen Derrion Albert, Rev. Jesse Jackson has been part of a call for a "national conversation" on youth violence and a ready-made photo op riding the bus to Fenger High School on the South Side. But yesterday Jackson proposed something that would have a concrete affect on the community -- give people jobs. In a meeting with Chicago officials, Jackson localized his point from a NAACP speech over the weekend in which he said:

[The United States needs] a Stimulus 2 to invest from the bottom up. We're bailing out the leaves and not bailing out the roots. We must have a renewed focus and commitment to put America back to work.

Here in Chicago, Jackson called for an "urban stimulus" and wants the city to provide job training for the parents of school-aged children in various trades and to put them to work on city projects. Jackson also asked for Chicago unions to back the idea. Sure, there are probably flaws and impracticalities in the idea, but it beats just talking about it. And as it's been pointed out by people such as Steve Rhodes, the problem isn't "black-on-black" violence, it's "poor-on-poor" violence. So any sort of action to help break the tragic cycle of poverty in many Chicago neighborhoods certainly can't be a bad thing.