Rev. Jesse Jackson To Retire, Name Successor


(Image: File)

After a lifetime spent in service to others, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr will be retiring from his position as the head of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Jackson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2017 and has since suffered a fall as well as hospitalization due to Covid-19. The Rainbow Push Coaliton exists today, according to its website, as a merger of People United to Save Humanity, an organization dedicated to advancing the rights of Black people in America, and the National Rainbow Coalition, a group Jackson formed largely in response to “Reaganomics”. That group was comprised of larger swaths of the population and was aimed at making the country a more inclusive environment. The groups would eventually merge in 1996 with the mission of protecting, defending, and gaining civil rights by leveling educational and economic playing fields and promoting peace and justice around the world. A protege of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Jackson would eventually make two runs at the White House and until Barack Obama’s win in 2008, he had the most successful run at the presidential office by a Black person in American history.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition provided a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times regarding Jackson’s future, and it appears the 81-year-old will not be letting Parkinson’s Disease slow him down: “His commitment is unwavering, and he will elevate his life’s work by teaching ministers how to fight for social justice and continue the freedom movement. Rev. Jackson’s global impact and civil rights career will be celebrated this weekend at the 57th annual Rainbow PUSH Coalition convention, where his successor will be introduced.” Jackson has had a long history as an activist from the 1965 Selma, Alabama march known as Bloody Sunday up until the George Floyd protests of 2020; Jackson has been a moral force for the nation to look to and one of the last living links to Martin Luther King Jr.


Rev. Al Sharpton released a statement on Twitter declaring his appreciation for Jackson’s service and reflecting on what he meant to Sharpton personally “We hope to continue in a way that makes him proud, as he pivots into teaching and mentoring. When I spoke with him this morning, I told him that we will continue to glean from him and learn from him and duplicate him in whatever our organizations and media platforms are.” Sharpton also called Jackson an anchor for him, undoubtedly a theme that will be repeated by many in their remembrances of what Jackson meant for them and to their own life’s work. Vice-President Kamala Harris will be the keynote speaker at the convention.

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