Seattle Press
Jesse Jackson Addresses Seattle Labor, pro-Affirmative Action Rally
Nationally known political leader and former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson addressed a labor issues rally attended by numerous local political candidates and a full-house crowd at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle on Friday evening (9/4).

Jackson was in Seattle to speak in support of several labor union and class action disputes involving local firms, principally a suit against the Boeing Corp. that alleges a longstanding and harmful pattern of discriminatory practices by Boeing and its officials against minority employees.

Several union and other labor leaders and attorneys also addressed the crowd in support of both their causes and expanded voter turnout in the primary and general elections this Fall. Opposition to the anti-affirmative action Initiative 200 on the Washington ballot was another theme of the meeting.

Jackson's speech explored several themes regarding the development of American society, including the need for increased ownership and partnership by persons of color. He described a strategy for increasing minority presence on corporate boards of acquiring blocks of stock in major corporations, which would give minority shareholders a unified voice in typically annual corporate meetings and allow minority shareholders to demand accountability of "their own" companies.

Saying that "our dreams must be greater than our memories," his message emphasized that his goals were about all Americans and by extension all people, without regard for race or gender. He pointed out that most beneficiaries of affirmative action are not easily identifiable as members of minority groups and compared affirmative action to homesteading and railroading acts of the 19th century, which had the general effect of increasing access to what were then the principal economic activities, farming and mining.

During the speech he chastised persons who could name basketball players but not corporate leaders and who then complained about their lack of economic power.