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One of the most influential civil rights, religious and political figures in the U.S., Rev. Jesse Jackson will kick off the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Social Justice Week when he speaks on campus Monday, March 28.

The presentation, which is the first stop of Jackson’s tour around Wisconsin, will focus on debt forgiveness, voter identification, same-day voter registration and affordability of higher education. This free and public event is presented by the UW Oshkosh American Democracy Project and will take place from 10-11 a.m. in Reeve Memorial Union ballrooms.

Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, has played an important role in movements for peace, civil rights, gender equality and social justice for the past forty years. In 1965, he became an organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and was later appointed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to direct the Operation Breadbasket program. Jackson is an award recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a recipient of 40 honorary doctorates.

UWO political science professor and American Democracy Project Chairman David Siemers said while Jackson has recently emerged as a prominent figure and voice in the debate over Wisconsin’s budget and public labor issues, it is important not to forget his decades-long commitment to social justice and civil rights.

“Jesse Jackson hasn’t become relevant again,” Siemers said. “We’ve come to understand the things he is talking about are relevant.”

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