Congressman Jonathan L. Jackson represents Illinois’ First Congressional District. Born to civil rights leaders Rev. Jessie Jackson and Jacqueline Jackson, the fight for underrepresented people runs in Congressman Jackson’s blood. He has long been an advocate for marginalized communities using his platform to fight for equity and civil rights.
Congressman Jackson’s commitment to social justice and equality has been the driving force behind his activism. As the national spokesman for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Congressman Jackson raised awareness about innocence and juvenile justice issues. He was heavily involved in the Chicago Police Department’s false confessions cases, such as those of Darrell Cannon, Oscar Walden, and Johnnie Lee Savory. He played a role in several high-profile human rights and social justice cases, including negotiations with Syrian President Hafez-Al-Assad for the release of captured American Navy Lieutenant Robert Goodman and with Fidel Castro for the release of 22 Americans held in Cuba.
Congressman Jackson values public education and fervently supports expanding opportunities to families regardless of income. In Chicago, he fought against the closure of Chicago Public Schools where he led public hearings and provided civic education training to preserve community memory and prevent closures and turnarounds by private companies. His efforts helped Guggenheim Elementary School come off the closure list in 2010 and saved other schools from the same fate.
Congressman Jackson grew up in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University and a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business. Jackson has launched several telecom, distribution, and construction businesses. He has also taught finance and entrepreneurship at Chicago City Colleges and was a business professor at Chicago State University.
Congressman Jackson now brings his activism to Congress. He is committed to promoting policies that advance equality and justice, improving access to quality education and healthcare, and protecting the environment. He proudly serves on the House Committee on Agriculture and on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and is dedicated to working with his colleagues to pass meaningful legislation that will benefit the people of IL-01 and the nation as a whole.
BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES FOR COMMUNITIES OF COLOR
The ethos surrounding blockchain companies and digital asset markets revolves around inclusivity, community, and collaboration. This emerging technology is wide open, yet it is not attracting the high level of involvement of America’s rainbow of aspiring entrepreneurs who could reap great benefits from it.
Many blockchain companies and digital asset projects are building towards creating access to and distributed ownership of traditionally gate-kept or inaccessible systems.
The adoption of blockchain technology and digital commodity markets means the democratization of assets as the groups that will benefit the most are the ones that are traditionally underrepresented or lacking opportunity, such as young people and communities of color. Barriers to enter the realm of crypto technology are minimal. Digital assets and blockchain offer opportunities to make finance, the arts, and business ownership more inclusive and transparent.
Therefore, a regulatory framework like the Digital Commodity Exchange Act (DCEA) (H.R.7614), sponsored by Cong. Ro Khanna, is inherently good for the space as it will improve the transparency of these “Wild West” innovations and add clarity and protection for those entering this burgeoning arena. With further regulatory clarity all parties will be able to benefit.
Blockchain is based in community. It is a natural match for communities of color, and as rules are made and institutions emerge, we should work together to ensure that the resulting benefits remain mutual.
Blockchain and digital assets need friends in communities of color and in DC and I am eager to serve in the role as a double bridge to these entities.
People of color, Black and Latino youth should participate in the modern wealth generation of new blockchain technology, including digital currency. However, this technology must be inclusive and foster greater participation with security for the aspiring investors.
When the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 happened, we took a hard look at building codes and regulations and made the changes so that it would never happen again. This is the same approach we must adopt when dealing with pandemics.
COVID-19 changed our entire way of life. Since its start, more than 1 million Americans have died from the virus. It has claimed more than 6.3 million lives worldwide—with no end in sight.
Retired nurse Patricia Frieson, a 61-year-old resident of the 1st Congressional District, was the first person in Illinois to die of COVID-19. Her sister, Wanda Bailey, succumbed to the virus nine days later.
Illinois’ 1st Congressional District is predominantly Black and Latino, the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 due to pre-existing economic inequalities and health disparities. Many families in the South and Southwest side of Chicago and the suburbs, woke up on March 20, 2022—the first day of the state’s “stay-at-home order”—as “essential workers.” Working class families with vital jobs necessary to maintain the nation’s supply chain going—grocery employees, bank tellers, plumbers, electricians, health care workers, paramedics, cops and firefighters—were tasked with the difficult responsibility of showing up to work and putting their health, and that of their families, at risk for the sake of our country. Decades of disinvestment in marginalized communities led to COVID-19 ravaging the population reclassified as “frontline workers.”
COVID-19 showed us our country’s vulnerability. Addressing it, and preparing for the next pandemic, is vital to the survival and success of the American way of life. The cost of COVID-19 to the U.S. is upwards of $16 trillion dollars. Equity in pandemic relief is vital to the economic mobility and vibrancy of the 1st Congressional District. There’s no better way to say “America is back,” then by getting COVID-19 under control and using its lessons to prevent the next pandemic by implementing the following policy positions:
Establishing independent oversight of labs conducting dual-use research of concern. We must create consequences that are strictly enforced when noncompliance with safety and security protocols occurs—or risk losing millions more lives. The review of this work should be controlled by an independent committee concerned with preventing the next pandemic, rather than by the same groups funding this critical research. Supervision should be moved away from the National Institutes of Health in order for unbiased oversight to occur.
Being proactive about investing in scientific research allows for a better understanding of biosecurity. Creating a foundation for the fast development and distribution of life-saving vaccines is essential.
Promoting media literacy to minimize the spread of misinformation, rumors and lies that can lead to misguided decisions that result in death, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 1st Congressional District needs more than an advocate for federal funds and pandemic preparedness. The district requires a responsible and transparent steward of the cashflow that will go where it is needed the most—to its residents.
Working to prevent the next pandemic is not only vital to our nation’s economy, but also necessary to ensure a high-quality of life for residents.
The average home price in Chicago in 2021 was $537,912 depending on the neighborhood and rents are generally up too. As of March 2021, home prices were up 12 percent compared to 2020. It is very hard for young people and others to buy a home. Therefore, Jonathan L. Jackson supports the People’s Housing platform, legislation in Congress that will provide a progressive housing framework that declares housing as a fundamental human right. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Jesus “Chuy” García and other Members of Congress and will support more affordable housing, rental assistance, and down payment assistance and transit-oriented development so affordable housing is located near public transportation stations.
WOMEN & EQUAL PAY
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, in 2020, women’s annual earnings were 82.3% of men’s, and the gap is even wider for many women of color. Black women make 60% of what white men earn; Native American women earn 59%, and Hispanic women earn 55% of what white males make in a year. We must do more to raise the wages of all working women and provide pay equity. The systemic racial and gender inequities that have always shaped the childcare field are exacerbated by the uneven impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on communities of color. Congress must do more.
CHILD CARE AND DAY CARE
Childcare is a critical part of our country’s economy and is essential. It helps parents work and supports children’s healthy development. Decades of inadequate investment in child care continues to mean that many families struggle to find and afford reliable and high-quality care. Due to low wages, sexism and racism the effects of this underinvestment in urban and suburban communities are huge. Working men and women and families need more quality options. Congress must do more to address this important issue and help parents.
HEALTHCARE ACCESS AND AFFORDABILITY
The coronavirus has proven that every American should have access to quality and affordable health care. Jackson supports the Affordable Care Act and the options it provides for health coverage either through the state’s Medicaid program or through the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace (the Marketplace). In Congress, Jonathan will support funding for more community health centers and school-based health centers because they provide quality healthcare to underserved populations. These options make it more affordable to get health coverage and meet the federal requirement that all individuals have health coverage.
The Chicagoland transit network, once the envy of other cities and metropolitan areas, is sorely outdated and inefficient. We need more investment in public transportation and high-speed rail and less reliance on automobiles that pollute our environment. We must not only improve public transit, but we must also have more transparency and community engagement in shaping routes and other essential aspects of transit between citizens, townships, and transportation agencies. Jonathan Jackson will work to bring about better cooperation between the local and regional transportation agencies and more community engagement.
REDUCING CRIME, IMPROVING PUBLIC SAFETY AND GETTING THE GUNS OFF THE STREET
We are not going to significantly reduce crime and violence in the 1st district until we get more guns off the street. Gun tracing programs have found that Chicago leads the nation in the number of firearms police enter into the federal gun tracing system. The data is based on how many guns are recovered on the streets. The gangs have the same type of weaponry that law enforcement has in automatic weapons and Congress and the Federal government must do a better job of working with local law enforcement to get the guns off the street and reduce crime.
THE ENVIRONMENT AND A GREEN NEW DEAL
Protecting the Environment for generations to come must be more of a priority. Climate change is real and the climate crisis is affecting everyone but will have devastating effects on the health, economic opportunity and fundamental rights of children who deserve better. Therefore, Jonathan L. Jackson supports the Green New deal plan that emphasizes environmental and social justice and acknowledges how historically oppressed groups are more likely to be affected by climate change. The plan also calls for the protection of workers’ rights, community ownership, universal healthcare, and a job guarantee.
IMPROVING PUBLIC EDUCATION
Jonathan L. Jackson is a parent who knows the critical importance of education. Jonathan will make improving public schools’ grades K to 12, junior colleges and colleges a top priority in Congress. Jackson is a strong supporter of early childhood education because research has demonstrated that improving education during a child’s early, formative years is critical to a child’s brain development. Improved early education not only helps children to improve their academic performance but develop other skills such as organization and motivation that both play a role in learning. Jackson will also support student aid reform which reduces student loan interest rates by cutting wasteful subsidies to banks and lending directly to students and more Pell Grants.
JOBS AND THE ECONOMY
We need to grow the economy for more people to succeed. Jonathan supports the growth of small businesses and industries that create and sustain good-paying jobs. Workforce development is a critical component of any job creation strategy and workforce development is needed now more than ever as the role of automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence is playing an expanding role in our economy. Jonathan L. Jackson, a former Professor at Chicago State, will lead efforts directed at increasing high-tech worker training through community and technical colleges because many of the new jobs will be in technology and related fields.