In his latest column, Bishop Harry Jackson explains why he has been so focused on fighting marriage equality in Washington DC.
First, it is because marriage equality “will create conflict between people who fervently believe in traditional marriage and the law” and people like Jackson will inevitably lose.
But Jackson’s primary reason is because his father was once threatened by a racist, Southern cop who sought to prevent him from voting … which is exactly what politicians and judges in Washington, DC are trying to do to Jackson and company today:
In the early ’50’s my father, a World War II veteran, got involved in the struggle for national voter rights. Blacks were being systematically excluded from the prize right of our constitution – the right to vote.
In 1954, he was threatened at gunpoint by a state trooper in a blood-drenched southern state, who shot a live round just over my father’s head as a threat. He was told that if he did not stop rabble rousing, the next time the trooper would not miss. I was told this story over and over again as the reason my family migrated north to Cincinnati, Ohio and later Washington. Once in Ohio, my father made a pledge that he would remain actively engaged in grassroots politics. Dad was one of tens of thousands of blacks abused, threatened, or treated worse under “the terrorism” of the Jim Crow days.
In many ways, I feel that I am reliving family history. The idea that heavy-handed politicians can still steal the people’s right to vote amazes me. Like my father, I say, “Not on my watch!”