Rev. Jackson calls for new War on Poverty

Pushes for jobs, homes for veterans

November 24, 2011

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WBEZ/Lynette Kalsnes
Volunteers serve up Thanksgiving dinner for veterans and others at Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. used Thanksgiving Day to draw attention to the plight of veterans living in poverty.

The smell of turkey was heavy in the air at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Thursday. About 300 veterans gathered there to eat Thanksgiving dinner.

Rev. Jackson, the organization's president, says veterans face higher rates of  unemployment and homelessness.

"They need a guaranteed job, given the risk they've taken and the injuries they've suffered," Rev. Jackson says. "They need nutrition, transportation and a place to stay. That's so basic for an American veteran."

Jackson says there's growing poverty and hunger in the U.S. He's calling for a revived War on Poverty, like the one instituted under President Johnson. He wants to rehire teachers and police, and bump up spending on education, nutrition and Medicare at the same time some of these programs are likely facing big cuts in Congress.