Sunday 18 February 2018

Message of hope as Jesse meets Enda

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Jesse Jackson in Government Buildings yesterday
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Jesse Jackson in Government Buildings yesterday

Grainne Cunningham

IT was our second message of hope from America in less than a week.

When civil rights activist Jesse Jackson met Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Government Buildings yesterday, he left a simple and upbeat message.

"Keep Hope Alive, God Bless Ireland," the former US presidential candidate wrote in the visitors' book.

The Reverend Jackson will receive an honorary life membership from the Law Society at University College Dublin today and address students there.

The iconic human rights campaigner, who was close to Martin Luther King when he was shot in Memphis, Tennessee in April 1968, has been in Ireland since the weekend.

Yesterday, he said he would write to US President Barack Obama to urge him to meet with Traveller groups during his forthcoming visit to Ireland in May.

Mr Jackson said Mr Obama would be able to empathise with the oppression and pain experienced by Travellers here because of his own history.

The Baptist minister's proposal was greeted with enthusiasm by those attending the launch of a DVD on Traveller education issues yesterday at the Pavee Point Travellers' Centre in Dublin.

Comparing the injustices suffered by Travellers here to those suffered by Afro-Americans in the US, the 'Untouchables' in India and those affected by apartheid in South Africa, he urged Travellers to demand "an even playing field".

Director of Pavee Point Martin Collins said that "huge challenges" remained for Travellers.

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