Rainbow PUSH Coalition meets for 47th annual convention

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Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson leads a small group from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition in a protest. The coalition will have its 47th annual convention this weekend. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the Citizenship and Education Fund’s 47th annual convention kicks off Wednesday evening, emphasizing the need to protect rights they say have come under attack by President Donald Trump and his administration.

Rev. Janette Wilson, senior adviser to the Rev. Jesse Jackson, said this year’s “Make America Fair and Equal” theme is a response to “witnessing a retrenchment of gains over the past 50 years in voting rights, housing and access to affordable health care” that have come with policy moves by Trump and his administration.

“All of the progress we made is in jeopardy,” Wilson said. “The theme represents the state of affairs we see in America now. Every year the theme reflects what occurs in the lives of marginalized people in the first six months of the year.”

Starting Wednesday at 5 p.m. and running to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, the international convention will feature speakers and workshops on topics including poverty, the importance of voting and voting rights as well as fairness in media among other topics.

Speakers include Rep. Danny Davis, Stacey Abrams, Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, and Rev. William Barber II. Bryan Stevenson, director of the Equal Justice Initiative, who focuses on anti-lynching and anti-death penalty initiatives, will speak Saturday.

The convention’s workshops will emphasize voting in the midterm elections in November, as well as turning the House. PUSH is also helping to craft anti-lynching legislation, as well as pushing for bans on assault weapons and pushing for a law that would make automatic voting registration the law of the land, Rev. Jackson said.

“We must learn to live together,” Jackson said. “Trump has sown the seeds of animus between us, but we can’t fall for that.”

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