REV. AL SHARPTON STATEMENT ON RETIREMENT OF REV. JESSE JACKSON AS HEAD OF RAINBOW PUSH COALITION—
Represents Decades of Mentorship, Friendship Among Two of America’s Leading Civil Rights Figures
New York, NY (Friday, July 14, 2023) – Rev. Al Sharpton, President and Founder of the National Action Network (NAN), issued the following statement on Rev. Jesse Jackson’s announcement that he will retire as President of the Rainbow PUSH coalition. Rev. Jackson served as a mentor to Rev. Sharpton since his early years as a Civil Rights activist, in the same tradition Dr. King mentored him.
“The resignation of Rev. Jesse Jackson is the pivoting of one of the most productive, prophetic, and dominant figures in the struggle for social justice in American history. It was my honor, since my mother brought me to him at 12 years old to serve as the youth director for the New York chapter of Operation Breadbasket, down through the last decade, to have been a student and protégé of his. I and others who were a dozen years or so younger from him have gone on to build and lead national organizations, in the generational tradition he started after being mentored by Dr. King. Therefore, we think of him retiring, but rather that he has planted and nurtured seeds that are growing beyond his own organization. We are doing work in various organizations and various political offices that continue his mission. Despite his health challenges these last several years, he has constantly been there with us, whether it was George Floyd’s funeral or other struggles that he trained some of us for. Just recently he was at the National Action Network’s headquarters in Harlem, which he named ‘The House of Justice’ when we opened it more than 30 years ago. We hope to continue in a way that makes him proud, as he pivots into teaching and mentoring. When I spoke with him this morning, I told him that we will continue to glean from him and learn from him and duplicate him in whatever our organizations and media platforms are. Because he has been an anchor for me and many others.”
About National Action Network (NAN)
National Action Network is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the Nation with chapters throughout the entire United States. Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency, and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, nationality, or gender.
For more information go to www.nationalactionnetwork.net.