Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. Steps Down as Founder of Rainbow/PUSH Coalition After Parkinson’s Diagnosis

Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. to Step Down From Rainbow/PUSH Coalition After Over 50 Years

In a significant development, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., the founder of the influential civil rights organization Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, has announced his retirement. After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease eight years ago, the 81-year-old reverend has decided to hand over the reins of the organization to a successor. The announcement of his successor is expected to be made at the annual Rainbow/PUSH convention, taking place this weekend in Chicago.

The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, established over 50 years ago as an extension of Operation PUSH, has served as Rev. Jackson’s national platform for advocating economic, educational, and political change. Headquartered in the Kenwood neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, the organization has played a crucial role in advancing civil rights and promoting social justice.

Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., born in Greenville, South Carolina, gained national prominence during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. After graduating from Chicago Theological Seminary, he became the head of the Chicago chapter of Operation Breadbasket, where he worked tirelessly to enhance employment opportunities for the black community. In 1971, Jackson founded Operation PUSH in Chicago, expanding its mission to empower people of color through education and economic initiatives.

Throughout the 1980s, Rev. Jackson ventured into national politics. He made a lasting impact by delivering a powerful speech at the 1984 Democratic Convention and later finished third in the Democratic presidential nomination race in 1988. Following the merger of his initiatives in 1996, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition emerged as a leading force in the civil rights movement, with Rev. Jackson at its helm.

Rev. Jackson’s retirement has sparked reflections on his profound legacy. Reverend Al Sharpton, another prominent civil rights leader, expressed his admiration for Rev. Jackson’s tireless efforts and called him one of the most influential figures in America’s struggle for social justice.

The Rainbow/PUSH convention, which began this weekend, will feature a keynote address by Vice President Kamala Harris. As the event unfolds, it serves as a testament to Rev. Jackson’s lasting contributions and the organization’s commitment to carrying forward his mission.

In conclusion, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.’s retirement from the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition marks the end of an era for the iconic civil rights leader. Throughout his career spanning over six decades, Rev. Jackson has made indelible contributions to the advancement of civil rights, economic empowerment, and political change. As a new chapter unfolds for the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the organization will continue fighting for justice and equality under new leadership.