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Blacks Protest "Shakedown Artist" Jesse Jackson By: Marc Morano
CNSNews.com | Friday, June 27, 2003

A group of African-American protesters gathered outside the Sheraton hotel downtown Monday to protest Jesse Jackson during his 32nd annual Rainbow/PUSH conference.

Protester Willie Ellis said he wanted to tell America, "Open your eyes: Jesse Jackson is for Jesse Jackson and Jesse Jackson only.

"He stole from the people long enough. It's time the people know the true man Jesse Jackson is. He has rode on black peoples' coattails long enough," Ellis told CNSNews.com.

The group of 25 protesters said they were members of the Chicago chapter of Amer-I-Can Program, a California-based self-esteem-building organization that operates in inner cites and prisons. The group was founded in 1988 by NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown.

The protesters held signs reading "IRS Do Your Job: Investigate Jesse's Family"; "Jesse if you want to be a leader go and get yourself elected"; and "Jesse: With leaders like you who needs enemies?"

Protester Harold Davis said Jackson "is a shakedown artist, and nobody holds him accountable."

Davis does not see Jackson as a legitimate heir to the civil rights movement.

"I look at him like a civil rights failure. If Martin Luther King laid down the blueprint, why has [Jackson] done everything to oppose Martin Luther King?" Davis asked. Jackson is "worth $40 million dollars ... and Martin Luther King died broke."

Jackson ignores the needs of his hometown of Chicago, Davis said.

"In Chicago, the kids' reading scores were the worst in 13 years; [Jackson] ain't opened his mouth. Why? Because he don't fight in his backyard when he sees a reason to go fight somewhere else," Davis said.

Davis said he was discouraged with more than just Jackson. [Chicago] has the two organizations that black folks deal with, [Louis Farrakhan's] Nation of Islam and Jesse Jackson, and we got Oprah here, and we can't get nothing done," Davis explained.

"What does that say about the rest of the country?" he asked. Stanley Love said he believed that Jackson misappropriates money.

"We want him to focus more on the community as a whole and get his priorities together instead of showboating and having fun and ... wasting money on conventions like this," Love explained.

Ron Cady said he was at the anti-Jackson rally to "let the people be aware of Jackson and his downfalls ... he's lost focus."

Jackson's Reaction

When CNSNews.com asked Jackson for his reaction to the protesters, he paused and said, "I don't know anything about it." He abruptly ended the interview and walked away.

Davis, however, claims someone from Rainbow/PUSH was aware of the protest and accused Jackson's organization of calling the police to disrupt their rally.

"They called the police on us three times. [Jackson] protested for 40 years; nobody ever did that to him," an angry Davis charged.

This was not the first time Jackson's organization has called the police on anti-Jackson protesters, according to Davis.

"I was in New York City protesting his Wall Street [Project] meeting and [Jackson] called the Secret Service, called the detectives. Four different agents came in the restaurant to get us - police, two sergeants, three squad cars," Davis said.

But Jackson's spokeswoman Keiana Peyton denies that Rainbow/PUSH called the police to disrupt Monday's protesters.

"We did not call the police; that is absolutely false," Peyton said.

"The hotel does have their procedures and processes for dealing with possible security risks or protesters, and that was the protocol which was happening today," she said.

Peyton said protests such as the one Monday were not surprising.

"We realize that freedom of speech also opens the door for voices that oppose some of the issues and some of our postures, and that is their right to do so. There was nothing out of the ordinary that was done today," she said.

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