Rev. Jesse Jackson, the renowned civil rights leader and founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition in Chicago, will be stepping down from his position, according to a spokesperson from U.S. Rep. Jonathan Jackson’s office, Your Content has learned.
The decision is set to be announced by Jackson himself during the organization’s upcoming annual convention on Sunday.
At the age of 82, Jackson has remained an active advocate for civil rights, despite facing health challenges in recent years. In 2017, he disclosed that he had been receiving outpatient care for Parkinson’s disease, which he was diagnosed with two years earlier. In addition, he underwent gallbladder surgery and was treated for COVID-19 in 2021, following a fall that caused a head injury.
Having broken away from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1971, Jackson established Operation PUSH, later renamed the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. The organization’s mission encompasses various civil rights initiatives, including promoting diversity in corporate hiring practices and organizing voter registration drives within communities of color.
Throughout his career, Jackson has been a prominent figure in American politics. Prior to Barack Obama’s election in 2008, he held the distinction of being the most successful Black candidate for the U.S. presidency, securing victories in 13 primaries and caucuses during his bid for the Democratic nomination in 1988. Jackson has played a crucial role in shaping the modern civil rights movement, advocating for causes such as voting rights and education.
His impact extends beyond politics, as he actively stood alongside the family of George Floyd during a memorial service. Floyd’s tragic death at the hands of a white police officer in 2020 ignited a national conversation on police brutality and systemic racism. Additionally, Jackson has been involved in combating vaccine hesitancy within Black communities by participating in COVID-19 vaccination drives.
In response to Jackson’s retirement announcement, Al Sharpton, president and founder of the National Action Network, expressed his admiration and vowed to continue Jackson’s legacy. He referred to Jackson as a mentor and described him as one of the most influential figures in the history of the American social justice movement, according to U.S. News.