Revd Jesse Jackson: 'Middlesex University is Britain's future'

Times Series: Revd Jesse Jackson meets Middlesex University students Revd Jesse Jackson meets Middlesex University students

Crowds of students cheered as civil rights activist Jesse Jackson told them their multi-racial education at Middlesex University “is the best Britain has to offer”.

Six hundred students and staff jumped from their seats to applaud Revd Jackson who visited the university’s Hendon campus yesterday as part of his UK tour commemorating the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech.

Just days after criticising the low intake of black students at Britain’s top universities, Revd Jackson praised Middlesex for being multi-cultural and multi-racial as well as providing a good education for its students.

Speaking to the Times Series Revd Jackson said: “Middlesex is Britain’s future.

“Middlesex has committed to educate children not just with  grades. Grades matter, but getting along with people matters.

“Those who cannot afford to go to big exquisite schools, those children matter.

“If I’d have been born in London I’d probably have gone somewhere like this, because it’s diverse.”

And to the delight of Middlesex students, he told them: “Your education is the best Britain has to offer because you’re learning to co-exist.

“It’s about a multi-cultural education.”

Leading the packed hall in a chant, Revd Jackson added: “Most people in the world today are yellow, brown, black, non-Christian, poor, female, young and don’t speak English.”

In an inspirational speech, he told students they could achieve great things, and if they aim high, they could become the next Prime Minister: “Against the odds you can make it. If you’re behind, run faster. Be more determined.

“Dr King went to school in Georgia. He used what he had. He was born ordinary, but he rose to extraordinary because of his will to make a difference.

“We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters and not die apart as fools.”

Revd Jackson fought racial injustice in America alongside Dr King and together they planned the transformation of civil rights, including the right to vote.

He ran for US president in 1984 for the Democratic Party, and again in 1988.

Vice chancellor of Middlesex, Professor Michael Driscoll, said: “Middlesex, I believe, is a working example of what you, Rev Jesse Jackson, have been striving for throughout most of your career.

“There are over 150 nationalities among our students, studying together in an inclusive and harmonious atmosphere.”

At the end of Revd Jackson’s visit, he was invited to add his name to a board emblazoned with the words I am Somebody, which had been signed by hundreds of staff and students.

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