Rev. Jesse Jackson made an unannounced stop at the Occupy Philly camp this evening – noting he was “very impressed with the order of it” – and offered words of encouragement for protesters.
“Be courageous, have faith, have hope and never surrender,” said Jackson, who was in town for Joe Frazier’s memorial services. “You must stand tall.”
Jackson spoke encircled by a crush of media and supporters, who at times yelled, “We love you, Reverend!” and suggested he run for president.
Jackson said that the Occupy movement is “considerably powerful,” having pressured Bank of America to abandon their planned ATM fee increase and factoring in President Obama’s decision to offer student loan relief.
When asked about criticisms that the Occupy movement lacks a clear message, he responded, “The message here is a quest for economic security and justice.”
Jackson talked about outsourced jobs, unemployed veterans, bank bailouts and expensive wars. “We need to address the war on poverty at home,” he said. “Many of those occupying represent people dying down there, hurting down there.”
He said that it was important “to be showing massive, nonviolent protest until they provide housing again, until they provide provide jobs again,” which elicited cheers from the crowd.
Jackson also spoke about the homeless. “A concern of the nation … is the increasing number of homeless. These are people that must be heard and addressed,” he said. “We will turned dejected souls into cornerstones.”
“We bailed out banks and left out people facing home foreclosures, people who are trying to work and raise other people’s children,” he continued.
“Occupiers focus on the forgotten part of the American dream,” he said. “Those facing home foreclosures, home evictions and can’t pay their rent should join.”