CHICAGO — The Rev. Jesse Jackson was honored Thursday with a lifetime achievement recognition by the Parliament of the World’s Religions.
The lifetime achievement recognition from the Parliament of the World’s Religions for his good works and championing human rights throughout his career.
Rev. Jackson announced on July 15 that he will step down as president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the Chicago-based civil rights group he founded more than 50 years ago.
Jackson, 81, announced his resignation during a quiet farewell speech at the organization’s annual convention, where the group paid tribute to him with songs, kind words from other Black activists and politicians, and a video montage of Jackson’s 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns.
Jackson has been a powerful advocate for civil rights and a strong voice in American politics for decades.
A protégé of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he broke with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1971 to form Operation PUSH, initially named People United to Save Humanity, on Chicago’s South Side. The organization was later renamed the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. The group’s mission ranges from promoting minority hiring in the corporate world to voter registration drives in communities of color.
Jackson has been a driving force in the modern civil rights movement, pushing for voting rights and education. Among other things, he joined George Floyd’s family at a memorial for the slain Black man and has participated in COVID-19 vaccination drives to counter Black hesitancy about the drugs.
Before Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, Jackson had been the most successful Black presidential candidate. He won 13 primaries and caucuses in his push for the 1988 Democratic nomination, which went to Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.
Jesse Jackson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease eight years ago. He suffered a host of health setbacks in 2021, beginning with gallbladder surgery, a COVID-19 infection that landed him in a physical therapy-focused facility and a fall at Howard University that caused a head injury.
Jackson said in his July remarks that he plans to continue working on social justice issues, including advocating for three survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre who this week saw a judge dismiss their lawsuit seeking reparations.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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