Civil rights leader The Rev. Jesse Jackson spent five hours in Toledo Monday as part of an effort to encourage grassroots action to confront the wave of foreclosures that are costing people their homes.
Mr. Jackson met with pastors and elected officials at the Indiana Avenue Missionary Baptist Church for breakfast. Then he went to the home of a woman threatened with loss of her home to promise his assistance.
He concluded with a speech to students at Woodward High School in which he urged them to study harder and get their diplomas.
He had the students, most of the junior and senior classes, on their feet and repeating after him, "I am somebody. I am God's child. Keep hope alive."
Mr. Jackson said his goal is to start a movement that will include nonviolent street demonstrations against what he called "banksters" - banks that took stimulus and bail-out money and then refuse to give similar consideration to their customers when they fall behind on their mortgage.
He tied the foreclosure crisis in with the loss of industrial jobs and the burden of school loans.
"We cannot stop the hemorrhaging until we have a reindustrialization policy and put Americans back to work," Mr. Jackson said. "We must restructure loans and stop repossessing homes."
At the home of Kim Bowers, 36 - whose home on Latonia Boulevard near Central Avenue and Monroe Street is threatened with foreclosure - he offered sympathy and promised to try to intercede with her bank to get her loan payments lowered.
Ms. Bowers fell behind on her mortgage after having medical problems last October and losing her job in January.