Rev. Jackson to host 35th Anniversary of his historic 1988 candidacy for president
Jesse Jackson supporters plan 35th Anniversary Celebration of Historic 1988 Run for the Presidency and Issue Call for Renewed Activism Before 2024 Election
Jesse Jackson’s campaigns for President of the United States made history in 1984 and 1988, paving the way for the first Black man to be elected to the nation’s highest office 20 years later. To commemorate those groundbreaking campaigns, former staffers, volunteers, and delegates will gather at the Rainbow PUSH Headquarters, 930 E. 50th Street, Chicago, Illinois to pay tribute to Rev. Jackson and celebrate the building of the Rainbow Coalition.
Jackson, a champion of increased social services, expanded civil rights, fair wages and workers’ health and safety protections, subsidies for family farmers and a non-interventionist foreign policy, based his campaign on expanding the electorate, especially among minorities, youth, women and workers. “Our flag is red, white and blue, but our nation is a rainbow…red, yellow, brown, black and white – and we’re all precious in God’s sight,” said Rev. Jackson at every stop.
The festivities begin July 14 with a reception from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Rainbow PUSH hosted by Jackson and his wife, Mrs. Jacqueline Jackson. Several campaign veterans will share remembrances of how the campaign impacted them and their communities.
The JJ’88 for President Reunion kicks off with a breakfast program, followed by the opening of the Rainbow PUSH Annual Conference from 10 a.m. – noon, which will be carried live on cable television via Word Network and streamed via Facebook and YouTube.
Several guest speakers have been invited and video tributes to Rev. Jackson will be presented by Rev. Al Sharpton, activist and political talk show host; U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD); Bill Lucy, former international secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; and Delores Huerta, former vice president of the United Farmworkers Union.
The afternoon program is highlighted by a panel discussion “Keep Hope Alive: The Jackson Presidential Campaign Legacy,” moderated by Janice L. Mathis, executive director of the National Council of Negro Women. Panelists include Robert Borosage, writer and issues adviser to Rev. Jackson in the 1988 campaign; Delmarie Cobb, former national traveling press secretary for Rev. Jackson in 1988 and political and media consultant based in Chicago; Greg Moore, president and CEO of the Promise of Democracy Foundation, and author of Beyond the Voting Rights Act: The Untold Story of the Struggle to Reform America’s Voter Registration Laws; and James Zogby, founder and president of the Arab American Institute and chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Ethnic Council and former adviser to Rev. Jackson in the 1984 and 1988 campaigns. One of the key themes of the panel discussion is how the Jackson campaigns paved the way for the New American Majority reaching across racial lines to build an alliance of working people, farmers, professionals, women, youth and people of color.
A tribute to Rev. Jackson with elected officials, political activists, and community leaders across the diverse Rainbow Coalition follows the panel discussion. Speakers will include the following: U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun; Terry O’Neill, former president of the National Organization for Women; Minyon Moore, former assistant to the president and director of White House Political Affairs in the Clinton administration; John Nichols, author and columnist for The Nation; Rae Lewis Thornton, Emmy award winning AIDS Activist, Author of The Politics of Respectability and Amazing Grace Letters Along My Journey; Roger Allison, director of operations of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center; Carolyn Kazdin, former Farm and Labor adviser to Rev. Jackson and former official with the United Steelworkers Strategic Campaigns Department; May Louie, former chair of the Boston Rainbow Coalition and director of Leadership and Capacity Building at the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative; and Heather Booth, founding director and president of the Midwest Academy and strategic adviser to numerous campaigns for marriage equality, immigration reform and fair taxation.
Rev. Jesse Jackson will offer remarks at the conclusion of the tribute. His daughter Santita Jackson will perform “The Wind Beneath Our Wings” before an “In Memoriam,” video tribute to former Jackson campaign leaders such as Frank Watkins, Steve Cobble, Emma Chappell, Kevin Alexander Gray, Gary Massoni, C. Delores Tucker, Barbara Shailor, Rev. Willie T. Barrow and others.
Registration information and a full schedule of events for the JJ’88 Reunion and Rainbow PUSH Annual Conference can be found at www.rainbowpush.org.
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