Isaac Jackson: Limitless
At 35 years-old, Minneapolis College Liberal Arts major Isaac Jackson said he is considered past his expiration date within his inner-city community. “There is no margin for error for people like me in America,” said Jackson, who spoke from his personal experience of being in and out of the system since he was a preteen.
“If you mess up, you can fall into a dark hole that feels impossible to escape.” Jackson strives to show people there is a stairway of opportunity within the black hole that opens up when you figure out what really matters to you. “I’ve learned I don’t have to live up to the societal expectations of violence and drugs that lead to living in a constant state of fear, as if honed like the edge of the blade.”
Jackson is seeking to change the societal norms, narratives, and outlooks for his community, specifically people on parole or probation, whom he considers the most vulnerable. “I plan to be there to help people be the strongest version of themselves, living firmly in reality, establishing clear cut boundaries, and reaching their goals.”
At a Crossroads
Jackson grew up in a home in Hammond, Indiana, where books took center stage. An avid reader, he believes he was made to figure out how to translate what took two decades to realize himself. “I seek to understand why my culture is labeled deviant. Everything is not equal and people like me are often not afforded equal opportunities. My skin tone, manner of dress, and dialect are often labeled as deviant. I am asked to assimilate, replicate others, versus being respected in my individuality,” said Jackson, who shared how he went down the wrong path, living up to a label placed upon him. He strives to shift the idea that everyone has to assimilate to the point of replication. “I am at a crossroads. I am a father, son, fiancé, friend, business owner, community member, and student.”
Believing he wasted 20 years of his life, Jackson has a sense of urgency as he embraces vulnerability, maintains personal accountability, and finds happiness, something that has been foreign to him since before he could remember.
Today, Jackson is celebrating every new day by sharing with his daughter what he wants to share with his community, that her abilities are limitless and she is unstoppable. “There is nothing more important than being a father,” said Jackson who recognizes everyone has a different, individual, path to follow. “Everyone needs to know the ground shakes beneath them and I’ll do my best to instill this belief in my daughter and community by leading by example."
Making the Dean’s List
Recognizing an education could support him as he builds his future advocating for his community, Jackson enrolled at Minneapolis College and made the Dean’s list his first semester in. “We cannot leave people like me in the dust, lock us in cages, or ignore our culture,” said Jackson, who now owns a home in Brooklyn Park with his fiancé and is starting his own business.
“My story is a true story of someone walking firmly in who I am, understanding my spirituality, embracing my goals, and recognizing chaos is there for a reason. When we know instability, we recognize stability. I am so much more than how people have seen me. I am even more than what I have seen in myself. I am limitless.”