Most of the young adults who filled the Community of Hope A.M.E. church in Temple Hills, Md. on May 28 were not yet born when civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson made a bid for the White House in 1984.

Rev. Jesse Jackson delivered a sermon at Community of Hope A.M.E. church in Prince George’s County May 29 that focused on President Trump administration’s policies and hate crimes that affected the Black community. (Photo credit: Community of Hope A.M.E. church )

But despite that fact, Jackson stood in the pulpit of the sanctuary and preached to those who gathered about overcoming racial hate and President Donald Trump’s administrations’ tolls on the Black community.

“People as a whole don’t need a lecture they need a rope,” he told hundreds of county residents that attended the church service.

Rev. Tony Lee, pastor of the church located in Iverson Mall, said he hoped that the civil rights veteran could motivate students to work for change just as he was motivated years ago.

“A teacher told me if you ever get a scholarship I’m going to make sure that you don’t get it,” Lee preached. “It didn’t matter that I was in the talented and gifted program, she saw me as a trouble maker.”

Lee said Jackson’s message is needed today because President Trump is trying to reverse gains that Blacks have made in the last 50 years. But, Lee acknowledged that it will take more than just speeches to change the current financial and social predicaments of Black America.

“The faith community has to organize,” Lee told the AFRO. “We have to make sure that the needs of our people are met. We need to organize nationally and locally as we deal with various challenges like what is happening in the Justice department.”

Lee is part of a network of ministers in the A.M.E. Church. He is also part of an effort by Bishop Frank Reid to mobilize Black churches across the country.

“You always have to pay attention when a general speaks,” Lee said. “You want someone who has navigated this terrain for a long time.”

In terms of timing Lee said too much is at stake for the church to remain on the sideline. “The budget is a moral document and we need to step up and take the moral high ground and get involved with this process.”

In terms of organization, Jackson said that he plans to have a Rainbow Coalition Convention from July 12-15 in Chicago where faith, civic and political leaders can come up with a common agenda for change.

“People of shared interest must come together,” Jackson told the AFRO. “We must not surrender in the face of this onslaught, surrender to our fears, we have to use our votes to build coalitions.”