US civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke at a service organised by the Diocese of Calcutta on Monday evening at St. Paul’s Cathedral (left). Bishop Ashok Biswas (below) welcomed him to the cathedral which was consecrated the day Jackson was born (October 8, 1941).
“Poverty is the weapon of mass destruction. It weakens and saps the spirit. We must democratise the economy bottom up. Literacy leads to liberation, change, hope and future. Some nations export their oil, others export their timber and some export diamonds. India is exporting their minds. India has the gift of good minds and strong bodies. Someway the whole world is indebted to India. Do justice and educate the children. Our future depends on how we treat our children in the dawn of life. People care that you know,” said the close aide of Martin Luther King Jr.
The congregation rose to its feet and repeated after him: “I am somebody. Respect me. Protect me. Never neglect me. I am god’s child. Nothing can stop me from dreaming.”
After St. Paul’s Cathedral, Jackson addressed a function at Kala Mandir (above) organised by Young Horizons School to celebrate its 40th anniversary. “India is the greatest exporter of brains but also among the greatest in poverty. I am going to urge India to not give up on the dream of education,” he said with a red tikka shining on his forehead. He spoke about how ignorance was used as a tool of control during the days of slavery and how education alone could lead to a free society. He signed off by making the packed hall repeat after him: “Our children can learn, must learn and will learn.”