Rainbow PUSH conference seeks 'A More Perfect Union'

Rev. Jackson's historic presidential bid celebrated
This year's conference has extra significance as this presidential election year marks the 20th anniversary of Rev. Jackson's historic 1988 run for the presidency of the United States. His 1984 and 1988 campaigns were the first serious bids by an African-American man for the nation's highest office.

In celebration of this anniversary, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition will host Reunion Day on Saturday, June 28. The event, which will be at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters at 930 E. 50th St., Chicago, will bring together many politicians, political organizers, campaign workers, ministers, educators, students, factory workers, journalists and supporters who worked on the 1984 and 1988 campaigns.

"On this day, we will reach back as far as we can go," Rev. Jackson said as he and Rainbow PUSH Coalition officials looked forward to seeing some of the old political warriors, whom he describes as the "roots" of the movement.

"Most of today's young politicians don't know these people," he said. "Many of them who started with us are aging and they are not here, but their children and their political offspring are active."

True to the spirit of coalition building, a diverse group of Rainbow PUSH Coalition constituents will lead the conference as co-chairs:

Rev. Charles Jenkins, pastor of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church; Connie Lindsey, director of Enterprise Relationship Management at Northern Trust Co.; Judge Greg Mathis, chairman of the board of directors for PUSH for Excellence; Jennifer Bishop, board chair for Murder Victims Family Members for Reconciliation of the Brady Campaign; John Rodgers, chairman and CEO of Ariel Investment, and Dr. Juan Andrade, of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute.

"The expertise of our co-chairs, sponsors and speakers combined with our mission will inform and inspire the convention participants," Rev. Jackson said. "I am truly excited."

During the five-day conference participants will be engaged with experts in business, health and education to discuss "how we can even the playing field," Rev. Jackson said.

These experts will lead panel discussions about Haiti and the world food shortage, civil rights, and the role of the church in the 21st Century. There will be a town-hall meeting about the home foreclosure crisis facing Americans today. Other topics will include "The Journey from Selma to the White House" and the "Silence the Violence Campaign."

"This conference will engage, empower and inform in a major way," Rev. Jenkins said. "It is a massive human communication highway as well as a networking opportunity across a diverse rainbow of participants."

On June 30 the conference's business breakfast will feature John Hofmeister, retired CEO of Shell Oil Co., who will discuss the world oil crisis. On July 1, Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan and John Taylor, president and CEO of National Community Reinvestment, will lead a town-hall meeting about the state of home foreclosures in the U.S.

There also will be health screenings July 1 and 2, where cholesterol, blood pressure, body mass index, HIV testing will be available along with other helpful health information.

On June 30 and July 1, representatives from all seven of the City Colleges of Chicago will be on hand to enroll students for the fall semester and discuss with them the opportunities of furthering their education.

"We need summer jobs and summer school, not summer guns," Rev. Jackson said. "This opportunity can have a direct impact on ensuring a good quality of life and future earnings potential."

This year's annual conference will "convene our leaders, friends and constituents to bring about change and improve the quality of life for us all," Rev. Jackson said.

General registration for the conference is $100; the fee for senior citizens is $35 and for students, $20. For more information about the conference or to register, please visit www.rainbowpush.org or call 773-256-2700.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. For more information about the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, please visit www.rainbowpush.org or call (773) 373-3366.

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