Rev. Jesse Jackson to high school students: 'Ferguson is now a metaphor for disparities'

KENT - Reverend Jesse Jackson continued to make his rounds in Seattle Monday, using Ferguson as a platform to talk about racial bias to hundreds of students in Kent.

Jackson, who spoke to students at TAF Academy, said he remembers the days when blacks and whites were not allowed to use the same water fountain.

Now, decades later, he said racial bias a disease still crippling the nation.

“Hands up don’t shoot, hands up justice,” Jackson chanted.

Jackson spoke on a number of subjects, including anger surrounding the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of teenager Mike Brown.

“People didn’t think the process was fair,” Jackson said.

Speaking at a church this weekend, Jackson called for more protests surrounding the decision. On Monday, he did the same.

“Ferguson is now a metaphor for disparities," Jackson said Monday. "Health care disparities, education disparities, student loans and credit card debt.”

He says Ferguson is no longer just about one town, one incident. He’s hoping it’s the beginning of a movement.

Many took Jackson's messages to heart.  Many students from NOVA High School protested on Monday at Westlake Park. Other rallies were planned for later Monday.

“It’s such a huge issue right now and racism is so inherent, we need to get people to talk about it,” student Autumn White said.

But other students say they are disappointed with the unrest so far.

“I don’t like how the protesters are going about it because really they are stopping traffic and causing more chaos,” said one TAF Academy student.

Many say they want change but only through peaceful means, something Jackson echoed.

“Violence is a distraction from the agenda,” Jackson said.

Jackson also preached that racial bias is affecting the workplace. He says the job and income inequality are the civil rights issues of today's youth.

“The reality is the high tech companies are more segregated than the Ferguson police department,” Jackson said.

He says minorities and women are being excluded from the tech world. Students hanging on to his every word were both star-struck and motivated.

“It’s eye opening and it allows me to push myself more,” student Favour said.

Many kids at TAF academy hope to work for companies like Microsoft and Amazon one day.

Jackson says big companies need to invest in minority kids that means creating more schools like TAF.

“It’s not an achievement gap it’s an opportunity gap that’s how we see it,” TAF Foundation staff member Uma Rao said.