Rev. Jesse Jackson visits Grambling to encourage New Orleans students to vote

"I am somebody."

"I am somebody."

"I am leader not a follower."

"I am leader not a follower."

His voice carried throughout a crowd of students as they repeated the words of the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

The internationally known civil rights leader appeared on the Grambling State University campus last week.

Jackson was invited to campus by state Rep. Rick Gallot (D-Grambling) to speak on the Civil Right Voting Act and on behalf of evacuees from New Orleans.

His speech was empowering and moved the students, many of whom said they were not aware of the events that where taking place in New Orleans.The Rev. Jackson said it was his duty to let the students and faculty know that much of the state’s voting rights had been lost because of Hurricane Katrina and it was important that the citizens of New Orleans be able to vote in last Saturday’s election.

Jackson noted that, although displaced New Orleans residents were allowed to vote absentee, no satellite polling places were set up in Houston, Atlanta, Dallas and other areas where many evacuees ended up. Jackson compared the situation to the recent elections in Iraq, not noted the unequal solutions.

"Iraqis can vote by satellite, but the people in New Orleans cannot have that right to vote by satellite," he said.

He said he had been traveling the country, taking his message to evacuees and others who should be made aware of the situation.

Senior Allin Little from Saginaw, Mich., said the speech was very important and informative made us all aware of political issues in New Orleans, many of which would impact GSU.

The Rev. Jackson ended with, "I am a citizen, not a refugee!" And the crowd was quick to repeat, "I am citizen, not a refugee!"