FREEPORT (CBS) — It began as an act of civil disobedience last month. Reverend Jesse Jackson Senior and more than a dozen others arrested on Sensata Plant property in Freeport, protesting the outsourcing of 175 jobs to China.
“There’s a thing about being here in Freeport, a town so small and wrapped with such a big idea of free trade and fairness in the workplace,” said Jackson outside the Stephenson County Courthouse.READ MORE: Police Task Force Arrests Carjacking Suspect Hour After Vehicle Was Stolen In Englewood
Jackson and the other defendants went before a judge, making the decision to plead not guilty for trespassing and go to trial as a matter of principle.
“This is what it was all about, for us to take a stand and try and keep our jobs here,” said Joanne Matthews, an arrested protester.READ MORE: 'When I Finally Got To Be Elvira, That's When My Life Calmed Down': Mistress Of The Dark Peels Back The Curtain
“We’re gonna escalate this protest,” said Jackson.
The move follows a decades-long precedent for Jackson, but it also comes during a difficult month for the Jackson family with son Jesse Jackson Junior’s resignation from congress amidst a federal investigation and dealing with health issues.MORE NEWS: Teen Stabbed With Scissors After Argument On CTA Red Line Platform At Jackson Station
Jackson and the others arrested will be back in Freeport for a trial sometime in the spring, according to the judge, for a problem that the reverend says isn’t just happening here, but everywhere.