Visit from Reverend Jesse Jackson

Rev. Jackson and students lrgOn Wednesday, November 16th the Ford School was honored to host a symposium for the Reverend Jesse Jackson, commemorating his long and distinguished career as a civil rights leader in our country. While it was a memorable day for all of our community, a small group of our student leaders had the opportunity to talk with Rev. Jackson and attend a reception in his honor. They were more than a little awed by this experience! During part of the day, Rev. Jackson accompanied the students to our Diag, where a student protest about some hateful incidents that had occurred on campus was being conducted. The chance to walk with a man who had been witness to so many important events in our history was well appreciated by the students. I asked some of them to express what this event meant to them and have included some of their responses below.

From Nashaira Verrier, 2nd year MPP student:

“It’s not everyday that you get to meet Rev. Jesse Jackson, let alone escort him to a protest at the diag. It was such an honor and a privilege to stand next to a man who has dedicated his entire life to working toward social justice and equality. This event and Rev. Jackson’s speech calling for unity and speaking out against racism, xenophobia, sexism, and Islamophobia could not have come at a better time and I am proud that the Ford School invited such a revolutionary civil rights leader to speak.”

From Ginelle Sanchez Leos, 2nd year MPP student:

“Just some background — I grew up in a household where my grandparents constantly praised Rev. Jesse Jackson and supported what his Rainbow Coalition stood for.  To them, Jesse Jackson represented the America that they, as immigrants from Mexico, worked so hard to bring their family to and he symbolized a promise that their children’s future would be better than the one they left behind.

I had the opportunity to shake his hand and thank him for dedicating his life to civil rights and social justice.  I also told him thank you on behalf of my grandparents who, I explained, were migrant workers from Mexico and believed so much in his work.  Then the enormity of walking alongside Rev. Jesse Jackson hit me and I imagined how proud my grandparents would have been.  I started crying and couldn’t speak.  He smiled and told me to be careful not to trip on the sidewalk, since I was a little shaken up, and then how important it was that we were strong and all stood together.
His speech on the steps of Hatcher and at Rackham were hopeful and moving.  And, especially after the most recent election, he renewed my faith that our Rainbow America is still just as strong and determined. I couldn’t have ever imagined having this opportunity, so thank you to the Ford School for making it possible.  I’m definitely framing my photos with him.”
Thank you to Nashaira and Ginelle for sharing their thoughts!



Dia de los Muertos vigil – guest post by Students of Color in Public Policy (SCPP)


Dias de los muertos picture group photoDias de los muertos picture group photo 2

Dia de los Muertos (DDM) or Day of the Dead is a Mexican celebration of life and death rooted in indigenous and Spanish/Catholic traditions. It is a day to honor the lives and pray for the souls of loved ones who have passed away. Altars are built and decorated as ofrendas or offerings to honor loved ones with flowers, candles, and pictures. DDM is a day of remembrance and a promise to never forget those who have passed. In observance of DDM, SCPP and OIP have come together to create an ofrenda that honors the life of those who lost their lives due to systemic violence.

Above is a picture of the altar, located on the second floor hallway of Weill Hall – it included pictures of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Michael Brown, Amadou Diallo and Eric Garner. These are only a few of the victims of systemic violence, but our hearts and prayers go out for the entire Black/Afro-diaspora community.

The goal of Students of Color in Public Policy is to ultimately use this, and future events, to demonstrate and continue to build unity between people of color. We continue to stand in solidarity with the immigrant community, the Muslim community, the Native American community, the LGBTQIA community, the Black community, and all others battling with systemic oppression.

In solidarity,

SCPP Executive Board