DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Rev. Jesse Jackson traveled to Dallas on Tuesday to discuss Ebola concerns with pastors and community leaders in the southern part of the city. His plane arrived from Chicago shortly before 9:00 a.m. at DFW International Airport and he is expected to spend his entire day in North Texas.
From the airport, Jackson went to meet with community members at South Dallas Cafe, located in Oak Cliff. Longtime community leader Winsor Barbee said Tuesday morning, “What he is going to do is meet with the southern Dallas pastors and community leaders so they can go back to their churches and community organizations with information on the Ebola virus.”
Barbee said that Jackson wants to be sure that south Dallas residents were receiving proper Ebola information. “A lot of times,” she explained, “the information is the last to get there. A lot of times, they are the most unaware of what’s going on.”
During his time in the area, Jackson also met with the family of Ebola patient Thomas Duncan, and Duncan’s doctors at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Duncan remains in critical condition at the hospital, according to a Tuesday afternoon update. Family members stated that they are very worried about Duncan’s chances for survival.
“The family has reached out for support,” stated Jackson after his arrival in Dallas. “Thomas deserves the love and best medical treatment America can afford, as has happened for the other Americans who have contracted this terrible disease.”
“He’s not doing so good right now,” said nephew Josephus Weeks. “Just worried and praying to God that he makes it.”
“He must know that people love him and care for him,” Jackson said. “We hope God would intervene and, through the doctors, restore his health.”
It has been one week since laboratory tests confirmed the first case of the Ebola virus diagnosed in the United States. Doctors are giving Duncan an experimental anti-virus drug in hopes of keeping the man alive.
Duncan’s mother walked gingerly, hand-in-hand with the noted civil rights leader, into the entrance of the Dallas restaurant on Tuesday morning. Nowai Korkoyah did not say a word. But her daughter, Mai Wureh, whispered “we want fair medical treatment” for Duncan.
“He must be treated as a patient — with all the human rights preserved — not as a criminal,” Jackson stated. Duncan’s family believes that he may have been medically mishandled by the hospital after he was originally sent home by staffers.
Days later, paramedics transported the visitor from Liberia back to the hospital, where doctors eventually confirmed that Duncan is seriously sick with the Ebola virus. “Without insurance, he was only offered a cursory examination,” Jackson said. “Thomas needs the same treatment as others. They sent Ebola back into the community.”
Meanwhile, crews on Monday finished decontaminating the apartment unit where Duncan had been staying prior to being admitted to the hospital for treatment. A group of trucks hauled away drums containing the potentially hazardous materials — everything including furniture and carpeting from that apartment unit. The contents of those drums will be destroyed.
Now, residents in the Vickery Meadow community, where Duncan was staying, are concerned about their immediate future. Ebola fears prompted one neighborhood to cancel a National Night Out event which had been scheduled for Tuesday evening. Residents are instead encouraged to meet in much smaller groups to discuss their Ebola concerns.
“This is a good time for churches — black and white — to rally, and find common ground and healing,” Jackson said Tuesday morning. He plans to hold a prayer vigil outside of the hospital at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday. “This is the essence of the message of Jesus.”
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