CHICAGO (CBS) — The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Friday said more structure and activity for Chicago youth could go a long way to prevent the teenage mob violence that has been seen in the city in recent weeks.
“We must have a plan for development for our youth,” Jackson said on the CBS 2 Morning News Friday. For nine months a year, they have breakfast and lunch. Three months, they don’t. They should have year-round access to breakfast and lunch.”
But there’s more to keeping teens out of trouble than just meals, he said.
“They need year-round, organized adult-supervised recreation,” Jackson said. “They need summer jobs, and they need access to transportation.”
Jackson pointed out that for the failed 2016 Olympic bid two years ago, the city was poised to devote a great deal of attention to public safety – particularly Olympic athletes. He wondered why the same kind of plan couldn’t be implemented among Chicago youth.
“We had an Olympic plan. If we’d won the Olympics; if children had come here from China; Japan – we’d have a plan for the youth that will keep them safe,” he said. “We need the same Olympic plan for our youth here at home. They should be able to eat year-round. They should have adult-supervised recreation, and summer classes.”
Jackson also weighed in on the recent spike in passage of voter ID laws, which he said was a major topic of discussion at the Rainbow/PUSH convention that just wrapped up. Six states have passed laws since January that require certain would-be voters to show certain types photo ID at polling places.
Jackson said the new laws stand to disenfranchise many voters.
“32 million Americans don’t have a government issued ID,” he said. For many seniors who don’t have a birth certificate, they’ll have to buy one, and that’s a poll tax. For many youth in school, as opposed to using their student ID – in Texas they want them to use a gun registration as opposed to a student ID – it makes it more difficult for them to vote. Or they use their driver’s licenses – 5 1/2 million blacks don’t have a driver’s license, so what you have is a scheme to suppress the vote.”
He called for intervention from the U.S. Department of Justice, so as to “not allow these schemes.”