Former presidential candidate and political activist Jesse Jackson spoke at Victorville's Loveland High Desert Church of the Victor Valley on Sunday, focusing on what he said was the disproportionate impacts the recession and banking crisis have had on minorities.


With a loss of 8.5 million jobs in the last 18 months, "because of a disorganized trade policy," Jackson feels that, "we capitalize, not globalize, human rights, workers rights, children rights and women's rights."


According to Jackson, it seems as though minorities are being targeted for foreclosures. For example, according to him, even if an African-American is making $100,000 and a Caucasian is making $50,000 dollars, the Caucasian is still typically offered a better interest rate by the bank.


Jackson believes whenever anyone is violated directly, it affects everyone indirectly.


"Direction over complexion," said Jackson, "is the only way to make everything right in the economy again. So today our middle class is sinking, our poverty class is expanding."


Jackson strongly feels Congress is not overseeing the banks' actions like they should be and banks are not being held accountable for bad lending practices.


"It was [the banks] who got the tax breaks. Why are they so slow to restructure home [loans], [but] not repossess homes?"


Employers deciding to look somewhere else to manufacture their goods have compounded financial problems for many.


"They close down plants in Detroit and move those plants to China for cheap wages -- not better labor, but cheaper labor. ... Whenever they close the plant, they take our jobs away [and] the lights go out," said Jackson. "Whenever the lights [are] out, we all look amazingly similar in the dark. In the dark, nature is not black and white; it is dark and light. Let's turn the lights on."


He believes in order to fix the economy and all of its losses, the government needs to act responsibly and everyone must work together.


"[The government] should lower the interest rates, and as the government bails out the banks, they should bail out the people," said Jackson. "[Fixing the economy will] require a mass demand by people collected rather than to just go one by one. You'll die one by one. We need to collect the strength to fight back," said Jackson.


This story will appear in the December 11 edition of the Hesperia High School student newspaper, The Sting.