Prominent civil rights activist and Christian minister Jesse Jackson urged America’s Arab community on Wednesday to stand up and fight for their rights.
“We are the new America,” said Jackson, speaking at the second annual banquet of the Arab-American Civil Rights League, according to U.S.-based daily Detroit Free Press. “Love yourself. Stand up and fight back.”
He slammed what he called the “madness of racism” that has led to Arab Americans having their bank accounts closed and being put on no-fly lists.
Jackson told the banquet’s attendees that Arab Americans must protest the closure of their bank accounts.
“You must not retreat…You are God’s people.” He said.
Earlier this year, the league announced the filing of a lawsuit against an Ohio-based bank which it said improperly closed accounts of hundreds of people of Middle Eastern descent.
Jackson has worked with Arab Americans across the U.S. for several decades, working to gain their vote during his presidential run in 1984 and 1988.
One of Jackson’s senior campaign advisers during his presidential bid was James Zogby. Today, Zogby heads the Arab-American Institute as its president.
Zogby said during the event that Arab-Americans have “a voice America needs to hear.”