Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, spoke to demonstrators ahead of the NATO summit protest march Sunday afternoon.
Rev. Jackson told the crowd in Grant Park, along Chicago's Lake Michigan, to be nonviolent as they started the more than 2 mile march to McCormick Place. World leaders began the NATO summit at McCormick Place earlier Sunday.
“Our world has become jilted by war and weapons,” said Rev. Jackson. “There is simply too much violence, too much concentrated wealth and too much poverty. It’s time we go in a different direction. I am urging us to shift our priorities. This demonstration is designed to appeal to the leaders of the world to choose to depend less on military intervention and more on negotiations to try to heal these societies ravaged by poverty and internal strife."
Rev. Jackson went on to say, “Today, as we gather here, Chicago is taking its place among the pantheon: from the Arab Spring to the protest against NATO. We must choose non-violence, not because we are afraid, but because we are wise. There is no wisdom or future in violence. We must reject the idea of violence and choose the alternative and passionately work to end expensive, unnecessary wars.
We have come so far in the last half-century of affirming human rights and equality in the world, yet the resistance to justice and sharing is substantial. The extremes of ignorance, fear, hatred and violence are attempting to take us back or turn back the clock. Our nation has become too violent, we study war and weapons and we apply them at home and abroad.
“Too much concentrated wealth, too much war, too much poverty are eating away at our nation’s soul like an active cancer. There is too much hatred in the world. We must not let the dream of a more peaceful world with fairer distribution of resources be hijacked.”
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. For more information about the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, please visit http://www.rainbowpush.org or call (773) 373-3366