Rev. Jesse Jackson: Price of doing good is to get attacked by fearful

By Christina Vazquez - Reporter

Rev. Jesse Jackson

Several Seminole County potential jurors in the George Zimmerman trial mentioned Rev. Jesse Jackson during questioning last week and Tuesday.

Some criticized Jackson for "stirring" things up. Jackson said in a phone conversation that there has been a " long denial over the long-standing racial tensions in and around Sanford."

Some potential jurors accused him of being an instigator.

"This kind of false accusations is nothing but diversion from what really happened that night which is such a mark on the face of that city," Jackson said.

When asked about what motivated protests in Sanford last year he said: "What took it, I think to another level was he was able to walk away free." 

It took Sanford police 44 days to arrest Zimmerman, a 29-year-old crime watch volunteer, after he killed the unarmed Miami Gardens teen.

"I think that the humiliation dimension is what took this whole thing to a real viral, international level," Jackson said.

The civil-rights activist also  said he is concerned that inaction would in the end hurt other African American teens.

"I worry if a murder of this degree takes place, that an unarmed young black man is going home is shot and killed and we're silent that would be betrayal."

When there is an injustice, Jackson said silence is not the way.

"Silence would worry me," he said. "People righteously protesting nonviolently is very much the right thing to do."

He believes the case is an opportunity.

"I would hope that this moment would be used to address the agony and pain of victims in such behaviors," he said.

Jackson also believes Sanford Sheriff's Office needs to make some changes, because before Trayvon was killed the African American community had issues.

"More blacks should be on the police department," he said.  And added that "other unsolved incidents of violence should have been addressed long time ago. You talk with black citizens of Sanford, they make it very clear, this is not the first time something ugly has occurred, but what they want is for it to stop."

Jackson understands that being a public figure means being criticized.

"It doesn't really bother me, you know the price of doing good is to get attacked by people who are fearful." 

And in a religious tone, he added, "you may remember Jesus made the wicked people shudder ... we seek new hope, we seek new life, we seek simple justice."

Jackson said he will continue to pay attention to the Zimmerman case.

"No one should walk down the street, white black or brown male or female, unarmed going home and be chased when they have been told by the police department don't pursue this suspect ... that's wrong and that must not happen anymore."

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