The Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, is one of America’s foremost civil rights, religious and political figures. According to his impressive list of accomplishments, over the past forty years, he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice. On August 9, 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded Reverend Jackson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Reverend Jackson has been called the “Conscience of the Nation” and “the Great Unifier,” challenging America to be inclusive and to establish just and humane priorities for the benefit of all. He is known for bringing people together on common ground across lines of race, culture, class, gender and belief.
Born on October 8, 1941 in Greenville, South Carolina, Jesse Jackson graduated from the public schools in Greenville and then enrolled in the University of Illinois on a football scholarship. He later transferred to North Carolina A&T State University and graduated in 1964. He began his theological studies at Chicago Theological Seminary but deferred his studies when he began working full-time in the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was ordained on June 30, 1968 by Rev. Clay Evans and received his earned Master of Divinity degree from Chicago Theological Seminary in 2000.
Rev. Jesse Jackson and The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund hosted its 22nd Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit, February 20 – February 22, 2019 at The Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel.
This year’s theme, “400 Years Later: Closing the Wealth Gap, Expanding Opportunity,” is particularly important, as the summit featured sessions on closing the racial wealth gap, advancing consumer protection, the state of telecom and evolution of digital currencies and numerous other topics.
At the opening press briefing,Rev. Jackson presented the Wall Street Project Economic Summit White Paper, an overview of the struggle of the African American community to increase wealth and gain financial equality by using votes and dollars, becoming shareholders and making a commitment to spending less than we make.
“African Americans have journeyed through four stages of a 400-year struggle,” Rev. Jackson said. “Stage one – ending slavery after 246 years in bondage; Stage two – ending the Jim Crow era with its mass lynchings and terror campaigns; Stage three – securing the right to vote; and currently, Stage four – securing access to capital, industry, technology and deal flow in the U.S. economy.” stated Rev. Jackson.
“We are in the early days of stage four,” he continued. “We have freedom in our lives, but we don’t have equality. There are some steps the African-American community can take to move closer to gaining equality and the fruits that will come with the successful navigation of stage four of the struggle. It’s the simplest way to begin building wealth. We must save money to invest in building a future. It’s time to consolidate that earning power for the welfare of the community.”