Civil Rights pioneer Jesse Jackson is on a three day voter registration tour of Virginia. But Monday morning in Roanoke, he also had a message for current voters who may be disenchanted after last November’s election: Keep voting.
"When you vote, you win sometimes, you lose sometimes. But you must vote because it’s the right thing to do," Jackson told dozens of people at High Street Baptist Church. "Because that’s power. That’s power in the vote."
Jackson noted efforts to purge inactive voter registrations. He also called for automatic voter registration when a person turns 18. Voter registration on college campuses is one of the key goals of his "Healing and Rebuilding Virginia Bus Tour." He's also speaking to churches and community groups from Lynchburg to Norfolk and Arlington.
Jackson said much has changed in the last 50 years, but those gains must be secured. In a wide-ranging discussion, Jackson addressed climate change, efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act and the recent violence during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
Jackson said Confederate monuments must come down but cautioned listeners to not fight hate with hate. "The incident at Charlottesville touched all of us deeply," Jackson told reporters beforehand. "All those lives lost because people are perpetuating ignorance and hatred and fear and violence. But we must turn that martyrdom into building this forward. The lesson learned from there is that we survive apart but must learn to live together. "