WASHINGTON (CNN) – A longtime civil rights leader called Sunday for the nation’s first African-American president to be more engaged with the black community and for greater government action to address the needs of the poor and unemployed - especially those in the African American community.
Rev. Jesse Jackson said that he and other African-American leaders “want to engage more fully with [Obama] because there is a lot of unfinished business.” While Jackson noted that the president has met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and with some African-American mayors, Jackson said he has yet to sit down with Obama.
Jackson said on CNN’s State of the Union that he was confident, however, “at some point in time, we will meet.”
Jackson also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that the African-American community is still plagued by "structural inequality." He noted that progress has been made since he first ran for president 25 years ago in 1984, but he said there is still a need for investment in troubled, inner-city communities and for the government to "play a stronger role to stop the flow of guns" and "revive the ban on assault weapons."
He also called for another stimulus targeted to help the poor and unemployed, saying, "We need a stimulus package that is bottom up."
"Just as there has been a stimulus targeted for the banks to let them recover, and they've recovered to such an extent that they are making a profit again and sending money back to Washington, there must be a targeted stimulus at the base where you have this vast unemployment," Jackson said.
Jackson’s comments came just days after Obama addressed the NAACP on its 100th anniversary.