Rev. Jesse Jackson to retire as president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition

July 16, 2023
Ryan Ledendecker

Some 50 years ago, Rev. Jesse Jackson founded the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, a Chicago-based civil right organization that gained widespread fame for its activism. 

According to News4Jax, Jackson announced this week that he will be stepping down as the president of the organization that he founded in 1971.

The 81-year-old civil rights leader made the announcement at the organization's annual gathering.

The organization played several tribute videos honoring Rev. Jackson, including messages from prominent Black Americans.

"I am somebody"

Jackson, who has been plagued with health issues in recent years, including Parkinson's Disease and currently uses a wheelchair, was reportedly difficult to hear when he gave the announcement.

"I am somebody," Jackson said. "Green or yellow, brown, Black or white, we're all perfect in God's eyes. Everybody is somebody. Stop the violence. Save the children. Keep hope alive."

News4Jax noted:

A protégé of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he broke with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1971 to form Operation PUSH, initially named People United to Save Humanity, on Chicago's South Side. The organization was later renamed the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. The group's mission ranges from promoting minority hiring in the corporate world to voter registration drives in communities of color.

Jackson also had a run in high politics, winning 13 primaries and garnering the title of the most successful Black presidential candidate prior to the emergence of Barack Obama.

“He is an authentic genius," Ron Daniels, who works with the National African-American Reparations Commission, said. "(Jackson) had the unparalleled capacity to frame and articulate ... political strategy in a way common, ordinary people could understand it."

Not totally done

While Jackson has decided to retire from his position, he will remain active on various civil rights and social justice issues, including, News4Jax reported, "advocating for three survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre who this week saw a judge dismiss their lawsuit seeking reparations."

"We're resigning, we're not retiring," Jackson said.

Jackson's retirement announcement, garnered equal parts praise and criticism across social media, with some claiming that he's gone too far on the issue to the point of being divisive, not unlike Rev. Al Sharpton. The social justice movement that amplified nearly a decade ago after the Mike Brown incident caused most of the current divide, as high-profile race leaders kicked up their anti-police rhetoric.

Others praised Jackson for his commitment to pushing and growing the civil rights movement for the past five decades.

Latest News

© 2023 - Patriot News Alerts