The Crusader Newspaper Group

Rep. Jackson reports on first 100 days in office

Congressman Jonathan Jackson

Photo caption: Rep. Jonathan Jackson (D-1st)

Being transparent about his first 100 days in office, Rep. Jonathan Jackson (D-1st) said besides sponsoring a string of proposed bills, life in Washington, D.C. has been strange and at times quite dangerous like threats against the lives of lawmakers but being accountable to his constituents is one thing that is perfectly clear.

He intends to get things done including helping two Black brothers clear false murder charges that kept them in prison for 25 years.

Rep. Jackson made his remarks Monday, May 8th,  during a more than two-hour town hall held at the I.B.E.W. Local 134, 2722 S. King Dr., where hundreds of people attended. He thanked I.B.E.W. for “coming back into the city” and said, “It was very intentional that they built their building on Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr.”

After listing a string of proposed bills he is co-sponsoring and committee assignments, Rep. Jackson said there are a myriad of things he wants to fix like the rise in crime and the food desert crisis in his district. He is also going to talk to Gov. Pritzker about two Black brothers who were wrongfully convicted of a murder. While they have been exonerated, the brother’s can’t automatically get their certificates of innocence they need to collect damages based on being tortured into making false confessions.

He was referring to the treatment of Sean Tyler and Reginald Henderson, two African American brothers, who were convicted in 1991 by detectives trained by the late Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge who tortured them into falsely confessing to a murder they never committed.

Tyler was 17 and his brother, 18. They were among 100 men who were tortured into false confessions. According to the National registry of Exonerations, the brothers were exonerated on September 17, 2021 for their arrests in the murder of 10-year-old Rodney Collins.

But just as the years it took to gain their freedom, two months ago their dreams of wiping their records clean were surprisingly dashed when Judge Erica Reddick denied their requests for a certificate of innocence they need to collect damages from the state for being wrongfully convicted.

Instead, Judge Reddick set a May date for a hearing to either approve or deny their request for a certificate of innocence in the 1994 murder case that was overturned based on the torture by Burge’s detectives. Because Cook County prosecutors are opposing their requests, the judge wants to give them a chance to prove their case before rendering a decision.

That rubbed Rep. Jackson the wrong way. “We’re sitting on that, and that is something I will bring up to his (the governor’s) attention again. We have to move on innocent people.’ He said those cases involving those officers “who have been found guilty of misconduct need to be reviewed.”

Jackson said, “The truth has to come out. When you put someone in jail who was innocent, you’ve impacted four generations.” Like Tyler and Henderson who lost their mother and sister while incarcerated, Jackson said others suffer similar deaths and sicknesses in their absence. He said the grandchildren of the innocent believe their grandfather did something wrong. “It takes a long time to clear this up.”

In 2010, the disgraced Burge was convicted of lying about the torturing of suspects, released from prison in 2015 and died in 2018.

Rep. Jackson said being in Washington at times reminds him of “transferring into a bad high school. Please be prayerful of your elected officials. Some of the things we go through like threats” against their lives. He also extended his condolences to the family of the Chicago police woman, Areanah Preston, who was fatally shot on the South Side. Four suspects are in custody but have yet to be charged.

On the rise of guns, Rep. Jackson shared his feelings after viewing the White House screening of the movie, “Till,” about 14-year-old Emmett Till who was kidnapped and brutally killed in Money, Miss., and his mother, Mamie Till Mobley’s persistent pursuit for justice in his murder. “It hit me a different kind of way,” Jackson said.

Having grown up knowing Mrs. Mobley, Jackson said, “She was a person who was angelic…and after meeting her there was something special in her.” Jackson said today “it touches your heart to see so many little children attending funerals” of their peers. “Blacks don’t own any gun manufacturing or gun shops so who is giving our children these guns?” he asked.

Rep. Jackson mentioned this is the 100th anniversary of the Rosewood, Florida’s racially-motivated massacre by a mob of white men who believed a white woman, Fannie Taylor’s, accusation that she was assaulted by a Black man in her home. The mob destroyed the town of Rosewood.

He also mentioned a similar event, the Tulsa race massacre of 1921, where hundreds of Blacks were killed, 1,250 homes destroyed and the Black business district wiped out. “These towns were torn apart, paved over and the memory and the history were gone,” he said.

During the question and answer period, Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) asked Rep. Jackson about the $800 million that has been set aside to care for the burgeoning migrant population. “We need some money…in our own communities,” Ald. Dowell said. “We don’t want to pit brown/Black communities, but we want federal help.”

Rep. Jackson said, “I know that we have the compassion. We can take care of people. Look what happened in the Ukrainian crisis. Eleven million people went across the border.” He said part of the solution is funding “should have been opened a long time ago.

“Our scriptures teach us to be kind to the poorest…,” he said. “Those people aren’t coming here because they want to be here. They’re coming here because the living conditions in their home are so bad that they come here with only the shirt on their backs and half of the shoes on their feet with their babies on their arms.” While saying he will support  helping the migrants, Jackson said those funds should have been released a long time ago.

He also said the Republicans have removed any funding for social services but did include infrastructure projects. “We need to invest in human structure,” he said.

Activist Zakiyyah Muhammad asked if there is any funding for the AmeriCorps VISTA program that put youth to work. Jackson said he would look into that.

On a lighter note, Rep. Jackson acknowledged Karen Jordan he said just turned 91; however, the strikingly beautiful woman rose and told him she is now 95. He invited her to the stage. To the seniors present, Jordan told them, “We’re going to be OK” and urged them to support Rep. Jackson.

Recent News

Scroll to Top