It’s the beginning of a new era in the fight for Black civil and economic advancement.
After serving as CEO and President of Rainbow PUSH Coalition for more than 71 years, Rev. Jesse Jackson is retiring and has named Dr. Frederick Douglass Haynes, III, as the organization’s new leader. Haynes is also the senior pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church, a megachurch in Dallas, Texas.
Jackson announced his retirement on July 15, and Haynes’s term officially began July 16.
“Rev. Jesse Jackson has made the world a better place, breaking down barriers, opening previously locked doors of opportunity, fighting for justice and refusing to take “no” for an answer on behalf of those who have no voice,” said Dr. Haynes in a statement shared with ESSENCE.
“Rainbow PUSH has been the organizational vehicle that he has driven in the movement for justice. I am honored and humbled that he has “tapped” me to serve as his successor as the President and CEO of this great organization. Rev. Jackson has been a mentor and I have been greatly influenced and inspired by this game-changing social justice general, international ambassador for human rights, and prophetic genius. Sadly, justice and human rights are under attack in the nation and around the world. The work of Rainbow PUSH is as necessary as ever and I am committed to standing on the shoulders of Rev. Jackson and continuing the fight for freedom, peace, equity, justice and human rights.”
Rev. Jackson took his position in 1971 after The Rainbow Coalition was founded in April 4, 1969 in Chicago, Illinois by Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party, alongside William “Preacherman” Fesperman of the Young Patriots Organization and José Cha Cha Jiménez, of the Young Lords.
As its website explains, The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is the result of a merger between Operation PUSH and the Rainbow Coalition, established in 1971 by Rev. Jackson, People United to Save Humanity (later changed from “Save” to “Serve”)–PUSH, was an organization dedicated to improving the economic conditions of black communities across the United States.
For more than 50 years, the organization has worked tirelessly to erect programs geared toward building financial literacy, preservation and compelling major corporations with a presence in the black community to adopt affirmative action programs.