Jesse Jackson stood before almost a dozen Chattanooga pastors, both black and white.
"In a time of crisis the house of prayer is the right place."
Speaking at a 5:15 p.m. press conference at Mount Olivet Baptist Church, he called for the city to embrace love and not fear and said no one should attend the Nazi rally in protest.
"If they seek to intimidate they should have no audience."
He also talked about the need to expand medicare in Tennessee and criticized Georgia governor for signing new gun law.
"Guns make us less secure not more secure."
People were pouring into the sanctuary at 5:30 to here Jackson speak.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson is urging Chattanooga area residents to remain steadfast in moving toward equality for all, especially as a nationally known neo-Nazi group prepares to rally downtown on Saturday.
"It would be unwise to confront a phantom and let them take the energy of our movement for social justice away," Jackson said during a brief visit to the Chattanooga Times Free Press this afternoon. "We must define Chattanooga today and not allow these elements to cast darkness on our light."
Jackson encouraged people to focus on improving education and employment opportunities instead of being sidetracked by the National Socialist Movement, which is holding its 40th anniversary meeting in Chattanooga today and Saturday. The group will rally at the Hamilton County Courthouse at 2 p.m.
There is a counter rally scheduled for 4 p.m. at Eastdale Village Community United Methodist Church at 1403 Tunnel Blvd.
The city has to take energy generated by the neo-Nazi's presence to encourage people to vote and to register to vote for election later in the year, said Jackson.
Read more in tomorrow's Times Free Press.