The Rev. Jesse Jackson made a surprise stop at VCU Thursday, where he urged students to vote in the Nov. 8 election.
Jackson, who came third for the Democratic Presidential Primary in 1984 and second in 1988, made clear who he supports in this year’s presidential election.
“I’m here today because I made a choice. I challenge you to make a choice. I support Hillary Clinton. That’s my choice, you may have another choice, if you’re not clear,” Jackson said from the steps of Cabell Library as the crowd laughed.
Jackson said that millennials should vote to protect causes they care about, as an audience of about 75 students and faculty initially gathered outside the library steps to hear the civil rights activist speak.
“You vote to protect the right to vote. You vote to reduce student loan debt. You vote for affordable health care,” Jackson said. “You vote to fight for justice. You vote for equal protection. You vote for gender equality and racial justice.”
As Jackson highlighted America’s progress through the years, the crowd grew larger as others who passed by the library joined the group outside.
“This year we have a big election and big choices,” Jackson said. “Your role as students will help change the course of our nation for the better. I cannot forget 1965 for the first time in 85 years African-Americans had the right to vote.”
The Reverend said America has changed for the better since then, but there is still “tremendous unfinished business” today.
“Why should we vote? We vote to protect the right to vote,” Jackson said. “The forces that denied us the right the vote are trying to encroach upon those rights and to make it less possible today.”
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