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VYE Day 1: Rev. Charles Jackson and Congressman Clyburn meet with local teens

Image of Virtual Youth Experience logo.

Rev. Charles Jackson and Rep. James Clyburn spent time with students from across South Carolina as part of the Virtual Youth Experience on Monday.

The Virtual Youth Experience, a week-long web conference sponsored by South Carolina’s electric cooperatives, was designed to bring together high-achieving high school students from across the state to meet with various local, state and national leaders.

Jackson, senior pastor at Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia, spoke to the students about the importance of loving one another and positive race relations.

“My confirmation of what it means to be American comes from having grown up in a Christian home,” said Jackson. “My parents taught us to love above all else. I thank God for both the principle and the practice of love. We have to transcend these barriers that divide us, and we can do that through love.”

Clyburn, who represents South Carolina’s sixth congressional district and is the third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, spoke to the students about finding common ground.

“I have a philosophy that I try to live by, that is if the distance between me and my opponent is five steps, I don’t mind taking three of them,” said Clyburn. “I never mind meeting someone more than half way.”

Students were also encouraged to hear of Clyburn’s advocacy for the expansion of accessible and affordable rural broadband. Clyburn described high-speed internet as an essential component of bringing rural America into the 21st century.

A total of 75 students—all rising high school juniors or seniors—are participating in the Virtual Youth Experience. These students represent 17 electric cooperatives across South Carolina.

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