Rainbow PUSH convention kicks off in Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Rainbow PUSH Coalition annual convention kicked off Wednesday in Chicago with a business and luncheon and a tech expo for young people.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund's 46th Annual International Convention runs through Saturday.

This year's forums will address voter suppression, poverty and violence, as well as healthcare and business initiatives.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, of the Rainbow PUSH, said there needs to be a commitment to reinvest in urban America.

"We need a plan to invest in Chicago, to build roads and bridges and sewers and affordable housing," Jackson said.

Exposing young minorities to technology is just one of the missions of this year's convention.

On Wednesday, youth participating in a Rainbow PUSH-sponsored STEM program showed off what they learned. Making apps and playing with robots is not just and games for these kids.

"We know it's not a talent deficiency, it's a resource deficiency. We meet every Saturday at Rainbow PUSH. We teach them robotics, how to code, mobile apps and what you see here today is manifestation of what kids have actually done," said Martin Pieters, STEM director at Rainbow PUSH.

Krystopher Williams and Donald Pieters are developing what they call the "Stay Safe" app to help kids stay safe when going to and from school.

"We've taken data from city of Chicago of where recent shooting have been, and we combined that with Google maps so that it comes up as heat map," Williams said.

On Thursday, Tom Perez - chairman of the Democratic National Committee -- will give the keynote at convention's Labor Breakfast.

Perez will be discuss the Democratic Party's efforts to rebuild the organization and convey the party's "economic message of inclusion and opportunity."

On Friday, the organization will host a gubernatorial debate featuring seven candidates. The event will be held at their South Side headquarters.

For more information, visit: http://www.rainbowpush.org/
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