Running against 16 opponents, activist Jonathan Jackson emerged the winner late Tuesday night as the numbers began to roll in during a watch party held at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center.
With his father, Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., his family and close mentors, like former Senate President Emil Jones—whom he calls his second godfather—by his side, Jackson promised to never forget those who entrusted their vote with him.
Jackson gave roses to his wife, Marilyn, and his daughter, Lelah.
With Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore, Jones and Judge Greg Mathis by his side, Jackson vowed to bring the South Side of Chicago with him to Washington, D.C.
When it was clear that Jonathan Jackson had pulled ahead of the crowded field and declared victory, Reverend Jackson, who twice ran for the presidency, wiped away tears.
With his second godfather, Jones, by his side, Jackson thanked supporters for the victory.
Commissioner Moore, who introduced Jackson, said the people “have spoken with a clear and decisive victory. Your voices have been heard. You have chosen a man who will work tirelessly to make our communities safe and proud.
“We are proud to put together a campaign that was inclusive, respectful of all races, inclusive of all genders. “It was not discriminatory of anyone’s age….You have chosen a man who is not afraid to fight for what is right,” he told a cheering crowd.
With spiraling crime, rising gas prices and expanding food deserts, Jackson said as he campaigned throughout the district, many people asked him not to forget them if he won. The vote totals showed him winning by more than 28 percent of the vote..
Jackson thanked his supporters for their support, and his campaign manager, Debra Lane, for helping him sprint ahead to victory.
Thanking retiring Congressman Bobby L. Rush for his decades of service, Jackson called for a unity meeting, so that everyone will be on the same page as he vowed to fight to bring resources back to the South Side of Chicago.
Nearly four hours before the polls closed, Jonathan Jackson and his father, Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. voted at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Center, 4314 S. Cottage Grove Ave., admittedly in the tradition of their mentor, Dr. King.
When asked by the Chicago Crusader what were his thoughts while voting with his father, Jonathan Jackson said, “I am very excited for this privilege, this opportunity to vote.” He said his father had a family tradition of voting in every election. “I thank God we are here to do this one more time.
“This is a privilege my father often told me most people around the world don’t have and that is to have self-determination to a ballot box. We take this to be something that’s very valuable.”
Referring to his first godfather, Jackson said, “We thank the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, who helped to secure this crown jewel of right for so many Americans and continue to be mindful of those 5.2 million Americans who have lost their right to vote.”
Saying he is honored to be a candidate and on the ballot, he announced he was hosting an Election 2020 Watch Night at the historic DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center.
Reminded by the Chicago Crusader that Dr. King was his godfather and what would he say if he were alive, Jonathan Jackson responded, “Clearly his work of securing the right to vote is under attack. I think he would be so focused on making sure that the law works for everyone, that every vote does count.”
He added, “I have seen record amounts of money in attorney general races, in secretary of state’s races on who gets to validate the votes. We’ve gone from securing the right to vote to now who gets to count and validate the vote.
“The fight for voting rights is alive and well, and we are going to stand in that tradition to make sure that voting rights are increased and expanded and protected for every American,” Jackson told reporters.
Jackson, who was endorsed by a number of labor groups, congressmen, ministers, including LGBTQ Impact, was also embraced by the Right Honorable Keith Vaz, British Parliament’s longest-serving Asian member of Parliament for 32 years, who flew to Chicago to help with Jackson’s campaign. “I’ve known Reverend Jackson all of that time.
“I’ve come over to support, to help support in a little way I can, too, hand out leaflets to be with Reverend Jackson on this very important day in the journey of his incredible family,” Vaz said. “We are here to give moral support.
“His son, Jonathan, is also known to me. I met him frequently, and he came to London with the Reverend only as recently as December. I am thrilled that another generation of Jacksons are standing for public office, and I am very pleased to be here to support the candidate,” he told the Chicago Crusader.
Longtime activist Barbara Burchjolla, said, “I am very happy that Jonathan Jackson will become the First Congressional candidate and winner from Illinois.
“I’ve been impressed by him most of his life. He will make a great congressman because he is that good. He’s great. We’ve been waiting for somebody like him,” she said.