As promised, the Rev. Jesse Jackson returned to Toledo yesterday to keep up the pressure for "mass action" to end the tide of home foreclosures and create more jobs.
While here, he reconnected with the woman whose house he saved from foreclosure a week ago.
And he drew attention to the 18-year-old Woodward High School student whom he had singled out during a speech to students Nov. 23, and whom he later learned was living in shelters with his mother and brother.
"We're back here today to rouse workers to action. Workers must not surrender to this devastation. They must fight back. We must take our case to the public square," he told The Blade's editorial board.
At the United Auto Workers Local 12 hall, he had a crowd of about 80 union representatives, ministers, and Democratic politicians repeating after him, "Save the workers! Save the families! Jobs now! Rebuild America!," ending with his signature cheer, "Keep hope alive!"
He said he's planning a rally in Detroit today.
Mr. Jackson, 68, who ran for president in 1984 and 1988, went on to encourage students at a Toledo middle school with a nonpolitical lecture on respecting parents and teachers.
Mr. Jackson ended his day with a meal at the home of Kim Bowers, who lives on Latonia Boulevard in West Toledo.
Ms. Bowers' home was saved from foreclosure Nov. 24 when Mr. Jackson drew attention to her situation in a visit here the previous day and intervened with her lender, foreign-owned HSBC Financial.
Banks are the main targets of his crusade.
"The first priority [when the financial crash occurred] was to bail out the banks who are predators, rather than restructuring the banks, changing their boards. Nothing really changed, except those who were in the hole got bailed out and without any linkage for changing their behavior."
Mr. Jackson sought to cast his campaign as crossing racial and class lines. He said that if one house on a street is foreclosed, the other houses lose value and the whole community suffers.
"Plants are closing. Drugs and guns are coming. You can't put businesses in war zones," Mr. Jackson said.
Mr. Jackson, president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition in Chicago, said Toledo deserves the same attention as Afghanistan, which he said is benefiting from targeted intervention with a budget.
"We bailed out Wall Street, we bailed out Iraq, we're bailing out Afghanistan. Let's bail out Toledo," he said.
At Samuel M. Jones at Gunckel Park Middle School, at Collingwood Boulevard and Nebraska Avenue, Mr. Jackson was cheered wildly. He was introduced by 7th-grader Cardez Gregory.
At the UAW Hall, Mr. Jackson promised to help anyone in the audience whose home was in foreclosure. About 10 people took up his offer and met in a separate room for some counseling and possibly to get some intervention to save their homes.
One of his guests at the UAW Hall was the student he met in his visit Nov. 23, Woodward senior Carlos Rice, who is also captain of the football team. That day, Mr. Jackson had asked for the captain of the football team to stand up and then peppered him with questions, showing that the football team dedicated time to practicing football but not so much to studying.
Mr. Jackson said yesterday that Mr. Rice, his 16-year-old brother, and his mother, Lajuan Rice, 50, have been living in a series of shelters provided by area churches for the last month because his mother lost their home.
Ms. Rice said she and her ex-husband lost their home to foreclosure. Now her only income is $139 per week for child support.
"We're going to give this family a home. These children will study and grow," Mr. Jackson told the crowd.
Ms. Rice said some criminal convictions for drug abuse and domestic violence in connection with her former marriage have stood in the way of her getting employment. She said her older children have given the family shelter but she wants her own place.
She said she didn't believe her son at first when he told her about meeting Reverend Jackson.
"Carlos is such a joker. I thought he was playing games with me," Ms. Rice said. She said she wants to participate in Mr. Jackson's rally.
Also placing some faith in Mr. Jackson was Michael Hackney, 62, of the Old West End, who said his home is in foreclosure and he has been working with a succession of mortgage companies to keep it.
"I did everything they asked me to. There is so much red tape, and they keep flipping to other people," Mr. Hackney said.
Whether he can keep his house "is a toss-up," said Mr. Hackney, who works for a home-improvement store but had his hours cut a year ago.
Of Mr. Jackson's crusade, he said, "I don't think it's in vain. I think it's a good thing."
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