Rev. Jesse Jackson’s tireless PUSH, promoting MLK’s dream decades later

Photo courtesy of Ja'Mal Green
Photo courtesy of Ja’Mal Green

Chicago artist and activist Ja’Mal Green, 20, has been performing across the country as well as going into schools to talk to youth about anti-bullying and anti-violence. Green has been one of the loudest and most active representatives of the movement for social change following the death of Laquan McDonald, who died in October 2014 after being shot 16 times by a police officer. He was part of the march that shut down Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and most recently he led a march at the home of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He doesn’t mince words about his relationship with the mayor of Chicago and why “Rahm has failed us.”

“I voted against him but when he got in and I was given the opportunity to partner my company with his team, I took it to save lives. I was the ‘Put The Guns Down’ ambassador going into schools to promote a safe summer. It was business. I did my part for the community and now that business relationship is done,” he said. “Artists are role models and we have a lot of influence. I fully believe that artists should be giving back and standing up for communities. It is our responsibility as a people, no matter what your occupation is, because we all should want safer and more resourceful communities for our kids.

“The main solution is to unify people and establish love for one another. After we can do that, we can start by changing the leadership we have in Chicago, register people to vote and have everyone ready to hold elected officials accountable,” he said. “We need to change the CPD culture in our neighborhoods where CPD is not the oppressive force. We also need to stand up to leadership to get a flow of resources through Black communities that have been starving so many years. I have many solutions but we have a lot of work to do, but we have to do it together.”

Story by Yvette Caslin

Additional reporting by Kacie Whaley and Eddy Lamarre

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