MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Rev. Jesse Jackson came to Memphis Monday to honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was shot and killed, in Memphis 49 years ago.
"I look around, I see not just pain; I see victims," Jackson said.
Jackson addressed the state of poverty in Memphis and how much of a need it is to restore the city and open opportunity for positive growth.
"Why should we restore this place? The Bible said remove not ancient landmarks. This is a landmark, it is a frame of reference. Whoever said you can take a little and do a lot with it," Jackson said.
Jackson spoke on many different topics. He focused a lot on health care and the state of the country by explaining the difference between following Dr. King and admiring him in today's society.
"To follow him is to look at a budget. A $54 billion increase in military budget. We have more military now than the next seven nations combined and while $54 billion for military budget, cut health care by $9 billion, cut housing by the government by $6 billion, it is a sin," Jackson said.
Although we are in a time where Dr. King is remembered for the great things that he did and his achievements with the civil rights movement, Jackson seemed to have felt that due to the state of the country, there are more admirers of Dr. King than there are followers.
"To admire him is to read great things about him. To follow him is to march, take risks, lose lives to save lives," Jackson said.
However, despite the state the city of Memphis is in regarding poverty, Jackson speaks hope.
"When I see walls coming down and bridges built, King is in the air," Jackson said.
He explained how much of an effect Dr. King had on the country over the years, especially in the South, as he worked alongside him.
"I feel some obligation since I was with him for a long time and watched him as he was shot right here in Memphis. When I think about God using him in life and in death, I think that now in many ways this is a new south," Jackson said. "You couldn't have Toyota, Honda, and BMW in the South before if those walls did not come down. You could not have the Memphis Grizzlies and the Dallas Cowboys in the South if those walls did not come down."
Jackson briefly addressed other topics like "The Fight for Fifteen."
"I think people should work and get paid for the work that they do. Seeing the nation so rich to have the working poor," he said.
Although Jackson feels progress has been made, he feels that there is also a lot more work to do. He closed with a word of prayer where he asked for the community to be "better and not bitter," also asking for the removal of hate in the hearts of the community.