Jesse Jackson to Step Down as Leader of Rainbow PUSH After 50 Years

On Tue, Aug 24, 2021 at 11:07 AM Anita Bennett wrote: Auschwitz, Birkenau, Poland - 02 August 2019: Jesse Louis Jackson Sr. an American civil rights activist, Baptist minister, politician. United States Shadow Senator from the District of Columbia — Photo by info.grabowski-foto/Deposit Photos

Rev. Jesse Jackson plans to retire from his position as president of the Chicago civil rights organization he founded in 1971.

A spokesperson for his son, Rep. Jonathan Jackson, confirmed the news to the Associated Press on Friday.  The spokesperson said the longtime civil rights leader will step down as head of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition this year.

Illinois Democrat Jonathan Jackson said his father “has forever been on the scene of justice and has never stopped fighting for civil rights.”

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A two-time presidential candidate, Rev. Jesse Jackson launched the nonprofit after breaking from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1971.

His organization was originally called People United to Save Humanity and was later renamed the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

The group focuses on encouraging companies to hire more minorities and it spearheads voter registration drives in communities of color.

The organization’s website says its mission is to “protect, defend, and gain Civil Rights by leveling the economic and education playing fields, and to promote peace and justice around the world.”

Jackson plans to formally announce his decision to step down on Sunday during the organization’s annual convention, his son told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The congressman said his dad’s “current health and condition” were behind the decision.

The elder Jackson will be 82 in October of this year.

In 2017, he announced that he was being treated for Parkinson’s disease. In November 2021, he was hospitalized after he fell and hit his head during a visit to Howard University where students were protesting living conditions on campus. Earlier that year, Jackson was hospitalized in Chicago after contracting a breakthrough case of COVID-19