COLUMBUBS, Ohio (WCMH) – Older black Americans watching the unrest in downtown Columbus and throughout the world say they feel like they’re reliving the civil rights movement all over again.
Retired Columbus city schools teacher Jesse Jackson remembers those protests and says his community is tired of marching for basic human rights.
“Watching that brother with his head on the ground and those guys walking around watching that happen . . . that pissed me off more than anything else,” said Jackson.
Jackson said he watched with horror as George Floyd took his last breath when Derek Chauvin, a white police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes as three other officers watched on.
Jackson says social media is exposing a lot of the injustice that’s happening between the black community and police that otherwise would go unnoticed. He said it reminds him of the 1960s.
“When I was growing up, TV was starting to show things on the news like police putting dogs on protesters and fire hoses on protesters and the physical brutality they were dishing out on protesters was starting to come alive on TV, so the nation was starting to see the things that were undercover for so long,” Jackson said. “I’ve gotten to a point where we’ve got to stop marching. I think we’ve been marching for 60 years and it hasn’t gotten us anywhere. We have to get smart enough to know that there are some other things we need to be doing now if we want to make a change.”
Jackson said in order for there to be change, elected officials need to take action and help the black communities.
“To the mayor: Take heed. You got a group of young people with a lot of energy, fire and they’re brave,” he said. “I think if he doesn’t sit down and respond and listen to them, it’s going to get worse.”
Until then, Jackson has a direct message to black people fighting for equal rights.
“Growing up in our time, it was I was 110 percent,” he said. “You got to do 110 percent better than anyone else if you want to make it.”