The University Record, May 20, 2002

Jackson reacts to 6th Circuit victory

By Laurel Thomas Gnagey

Jackson (Photo by Marcia Ledford, U-M Photo Services)
Flanked by students from the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action by Any Means Necessary (BAMN), the Reverend Jesse Jackson cautiously declared victory May 14 just hours after the University heard the decision of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on one of the two admissions lawsuits.

More than once during his impromptu remarks before a group of students and media at the Michigan Union, Jackson referenced the close 5–4 vote, calling it a “narrow decision in the right direction.” But, he warned, “We’re just one vote away from the decision being overturned. We urge all Americans to urge the Supreme Court not to reverse the clock.”

Student and alumni representatives who shared the podium echoed Jackson’s caution about the road leading to the Supreme Court. “It’s not a time to feel comfortable. It’s a time to build a movement,” graduate Erika Dowdell said. To that end, BAMN representatives used the press conference to announce intentions to secure one million signatures in favor of affirmative action. They also plan a march on the Capitol should the case reach the Supreme Court. In fact organizers are not wasting any time, according to student Agnes Aleboua, who seized the opportunity to announce a national civil rights conference at the Law School May 31 during which the group will begin to organize the next phase of the student movement.