DETROIT (Sunday, November 9, 2014)– Dana Alicia Thompson, who was elected Tuesday night to the Wayne State University Board of Governors by more than 1.2 million voters in Michigan, is thanking the Rev Jesse L. Jackson, Founder & President of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, for his rare endorsement of her campaign days before the Democratic nomination.
“Heading into the Democratic nomination I was honored to have the support of an American icon and civil rights leader like Rev Jesse Jackson,” Thompson said. “I want to publicly thank Rev Jackson for standing with me and issuing a strong national statement making the case for my candidacy. As an African American academic, I fully understand the contributions of the civil rights movement to education today.”
The historic endorsement was significant heading into the Democratic convention in Lansing where Thompson was nominated. Jackson rarely weighs in on statewide campaigns unless they are national elections.
“I am endorsing for the first time a candidate for Wayne State University Board of Governors in the person of Professor Dana Thompson. Civil rights and education are not antithetical. They are mutually inclusive. I am asking Michigan voters to give Professor Thompson the opportunity in November to carry on the educational legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as we strive toward a more perfect union,” Jackson said on the eve of the Michigan Democratic State Convention.
On Nov. 4 Michigan voters gave Thompson the opportunity to serve higher education by electing her to the Board of Governors of Wayne State University. She won with 1,245,865 votes.
Jackson in the unusual endorsement added, “I was impressed when I met Professor Thompson. She is a fine African American academic teaching at one of the nation’s top law schools, the University of Michigan. Her addition to the Board of Governors will help bring about the needed changes in higher education where students are saddled with loans and often left without a degree because they couldn’t complete their education.”
The civil rights leader said, “Thompson’s vision is one that is inclusive that will not only help renew America’s promise to its young people but also address issues of disparity in enrollment, especially as it relates to African American students.”
Thompson said having the support of a man who has been at the center of the battles for equal rights in education and other issues in the last 50 years was humbling.
“Rev Jackson is one of the most important civil and human rights leaders in this century. I am humbled to have had this kind of backing from a man who has fought and negotiated the issues of the marginalized and disenfranchised both in our nation and on the global stage,” Thompson said.
Thompson said, “I am eagerly looking forward to putting my experience to work on the Wayne State University Board of Governors. The fight to secure America’s promise has always been at the forefront of the battles Rev Jackson has waged as a civil and human rights leader.”